Whats With All the ‘Why’ Talk?

Start With Why book with camera sitting on top

You and 55 million others have seen Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action.” It’s an inspiring, captivating and straightforward 18-minute speech that links many successes of those who started with the question, “Why?” It’s a smart framework for how organizations can be built. 

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it,” Sinek says.

You get it.

Everyone gets it.

But it is so damn hard to implement.

Why is that?

Quite simply, it’s harder than it looks, and it’s easy for us to be bitter and surly when we struggle to fulfill our “why.” 

Now let me preface this by saying that Sinek has authored or co-authored several books on the topic, and it’s worth digging deeper. However, there are two things that if left unchecked can damage your attempt at living out your “why.”  

Party of One

The No. 1 reason your “why” doesn’t resonate is that it is not widely known, acknowledged and/or shared throughout your organization. Sometimes it’s just a “party of one,” where the CEO has one definition, but it is not widely embraced.

Do your employees know why they are there? Do they know why the credit union exists? Do they understand how they making a difference? 

Here’s a gut punch: Do they even care?

Too often we rely on an outdated mission statement on the wall as our guidance. And I would even bet the “why” behind the credit union isn’t the same from the CEO to the chairman to the rest of the C-Suite. To have a cohesive brand is to have a cohesive “why.”

Note Well: It can be exhausting. 

To establish your “why” you need to think like an advertiser. High-quality creative (yes, creative) and consistent communication with a high level of frequency is required to draw top of mind awareness from your staff. This is not as simple as one or a series of staff meetings on branding. This is a commitment that can be recalled every day within the credit union’s culture. 

However, although it takes hard work to entrench your “why” into your brand, it’s worth it. Study after study shows an engaged workforce leads to greater member ratings, profitability, productivity and less turnover for credit unions. 

It just takes a hell of a lot of persistence and fortitude to get there.

Exactly Whose ‘Why’ Is It?

Let’s go back to something Sinek said: “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” 

This is a half-truth.

I think corporate social responsibility is important to employees. Who doesn’t want to work for a company that wants to make the world a better place? And I think as consumers we want to work with ethically-minded companies, too. 

Nevertheless, as much as we would like to say younger generations care more about purpose than a paycheck, employees still desire higher wages, and they are calling those who fake CSR “greenwashing.” In the end, self-interest is a societal norm. We are reminded of this when we shop at an online company for its low prices and free shipping despite problematic areas in the way of ethics.

This leads us to the discussion of the consumer. Do they buy because of your “why,” or is their “why?” This is why I call Sinek’s quote a half-truth because they don’t always go hand-in-hand. When we look at our membership at our credit unions, some bank with us out of necessity while others out of luxury. Consumer perceptions and how we influence their purchasing decisions can be drastically different. 

So, while we can come close to relating our “why” to the consumer’s “why,” we must always recognize the value proposition the consumers hold for themselves. Let us never forget their “why.” After all, our members are our owners. 

What’s Your ‘Why?”

We work with credit unions to help them establish their why, enhance their culture and position themselves with greater brand awareness. Let us help you identify your “why” and strategically share it with staff, members, and prospects.

Ready to take your marketing to the next level? Fill out the form for your FREE downloadable e-book on how to have your best strategic planning event ever.

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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