Okay, so it’s important to Start With Why. But where do you find Why so you can start there?

Finding a purpose that feels right and real to you as an individual, as a team, or as an organisation is not an easy thing to do. It takes some experimentation and usually some fumbling inarticulateness along the way.

In his latest Museletter, the always delightful Dr Jason Fox explores the Perils of a Neatly Defined Purpose. Words, he says, can get in the way of meaning.

Yes, they can.

If Why is making your brain hurt, another way in is to think about some things you know to be true.  More of a philosophy than a purpose.  A set of core beliefs.

Google does this in lieu of vision, mission or values with their Ten Things We Know To Be True. To give you a quick idea of what they are for Google, here’s their list. But go to the website and read them if you’re curious because each one isn’t just a statement; it has an explanation behind it that gives it more meaning.

  1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.

  2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

  3. Fast is better than slow.

  4. Democracy on the web works.

  5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

  6. You can make money without doing evil.

  7. There’s always more information out there.

  8. You can be serious without a suit.

  9. The need for information crosses all borders.

  10. Great just isn’t good enough.

Pretty good for guiding decisions and letting people know what you’re about, even if it’s not a purpose or a vision. So if you’re not getting a good GPS signal on your Why, give this a try instead.

What are some things you know to be true that relate to you or to your business?
How did you come to know these to be true?