I witnessed an interesting conversation the other day. Some folks were going back and forth on how to make a product better and one person suggested Simon Sinkek’s TED Talk.

The interesting thing about watching the conversation unfold was how obvious it was some people hadn’t read the book or watched the TED talk. It seemed they thought they understood the concept of WHY, but instead got lost comparing their goals to ways Apple and Harley Davidson (positive examples from Sinkek’s book) develop their products.

What I thought was missing from the conversation was any sense of passion, purpose or mission.  I’m increasingly skeptical that you can teach someone your WHY. It’s like teaching someone to be passionate about a particular topic or hobby.  That passion develops naturally on its own or it doesn’t.  As a parent, your passion for a particular hobby may or may not translate to your kids. It’s not something that can be forced.

I see similar parallels to bad religion. Someone holds certain beliefs very passionately and it drives the way they live. In turn they insist other people must have the same beliefs they do. In my experience that doesn’t turn out very well.

Even if someone embraces a particular set of beliefs or another person’s mission because they “think they should” or because it “sounds true” it won’t have a lasting meaningful impact on their life until they fully embrace it as their own.  This isn’t something you can talk yourself into. It’s something that comes from within.

In the same way, I don’t see a company or organization capable of making someone embrace their mission.  Instead you need to hire and bring people to you that already have the same mission inside of them.