Why Do You Do What You Do?

by | Jul 5, 2017 | Financial Planning

Recently, I watched a very famous TED Talk from a man by the name of Simon Sinek.  I’m sure many of you are aware of the talk I am referring to, and you can find it here, but for those who don’t know Sinek, or his work, let me recap it for you.

Probably the most memorable line, repeated many times for emphasis by Sinek, is “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”  After hearing that line a number of times throughout Sinek’s talk, its meaning began to sink in. download 4

Sinek’s talk is directed towards companies, and why their marketing should surround WHY they do what they do, and not WHAT they do.  It’s more about getting people to buy into what you believe, and not what product you’re trying to sell them.  If the customer believes what you believe, there will be more loyalty and a better relationship between the company and the customer.

The example Sinek gives throughout the talk is Apple.  When Apple marketed a new product under Steve Jobs, they focused on why their products could help change the lives of their customers, instead of saying “this is brand new phone with lots of features.”  They successfully got people to believe what they believed, and eventually stormed their way to the top of the market share.

An example Sinek gives a company FAILING to explain their ‘why’ to the market was TiVo.  Sinek explained how TiVo was hands down a superior, revolutionary product, but was a commercial failure.  Instead of telling the market their ‘why’, they told the customers about WHAT the product could do.

After watching the TED Talk two or three times, I began to connect this to my own profession, and got to thinking how advisors could apply this to their own business.

Being a fiduciary investment advisor, being able to figure out why we do what we do is rather simple.  It is also rather simple to see why some people in our line of work don’t want to share their ‘why’ with clients.

Unfortunately, some people in this line of work would say their ‘why’ is ultimately to make as much money for themselves as possible.  Luckily, with new governmental changes happening, the industry is beginning to shift away from that line of thinking in order to make the clients’ best interest the forefront of our priorities.

Fiduciaries always need to make sure the client is number one on the priority list, making our ‘why’ ALWAYS about the client.  Some others in the industry might be motivated to make unnecessary transactions in order to generate commissions for themselves if the quarter is coming to end, but fiduciaries make transactions when it is truly trying to benefit the clients.

When it comes down to it, our ‘why’ really aligns with the clients’ ‘why’ as well.  It’s our goal to make sure the clients reach their goals.  Through common sense financial planning, and long-term asset management, the relationship between client and advisor needs to be fluid and cohesive.  Our motivation is not to generate as much commission dollars as possible, our motivation is to best make sure our clients are in the best shape possible with their finances.

It’s a shame that more people in the industry don’t have the same motives, but it is extremely important to understand why people do what they do.

I suggest, regardless of your profession, everyone should watch Sinek’s TED talk that I linked to above.  After watching the talk, if you’re a finance industry professional, and your ‘why’ isn’t in some way about helping your clients reach their financial goals, you might need to rethink what you do.  If your ‘why’ is more about your own personal gain, regardless of how that affects your clients, I suggest changing that ‘why’ before the marketplace changes it for you.

So why do we do what we do here at Mullooly Asset Management?  We do what we do so that our clients can sleep soundly at night knowing they’re in good hands.  We do what we do because we truly enjoy helping people, and we truly enjoy making a positive impact in people’s lives.  We do what we do not for our own personal gain, but because our clients put their trust in us to help them towards their financial goals, and we respect that trust and intend to uphold our end of the fiduciary standard.  We do what we do because we know that making long-term decisions for our clients will not only help them reach their goals, but it will also help US reach our goals as a company as well.

Simon Sinek has a very relevant quote: “Money is a short-term result that incentivizes short-term decision making”.  While there are a number of decisions that could be made to maximize short-term results, we believe in managing for the long-term because it will ultimately help our clients, and our own business, more in the end.

Hopefully if you’re an advisor reading this, your ‘why’ is similar to ours. Hopefully if you’re a client reading this, you can sleep soundly at night knowing that your interests are always number one on our priority list.

If you’re working with an advisor, ask them why they do what they do.  If the answer isn’t in line with why YOU’RE working with THEM, maybe it’s time to re-think that relationship.


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