The Power of Why!


Noel A. Pinnock, BS, CA, CCC, MPA, CPM

Mary Kay Ash built a multi-billion dollar cosmetic empire and pioneered a powerful movement among women who were looking to enhance their natural beauty with high quality products that compliments her natural tone and features. Over time, Ash and nine independent beauty consultants were hugely successful architects of her empire because she empowered a fleet of sales consultants to build their home-based business while enjoying freedom and flexibility. Whether it’s a part-time endeavor or a primary source of income, the Mary Kay opportunity gives women a proven way to pave their own destiny. Today, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller in nearly 40 countries around the world.

So, you should be asking yourself, how was she able to amass this venerable empire that continues to maintain a competitive edge amongst a sea of cosmetology companies in global and technological markets. The answer to this conundrum isn’t has complicated as some would assume Some may assume that it has something to do with profit margins, shareholder advantage, investments, assets, and market position. Others may say that her customer base and repeat business is the main reason Ash’s empire continues to thrive and maintain its competitive edge. Oh, almost forgot…maybe it was the pink Cadillac.

Honestly, it could be any or many number of factors that contribute to Mary Kay’s success but one thing is for certain, businesses are not successful because the product is the best on the market or least expensive. Businesses and organization excel and reach their maximum net value when its workforce and customers/clients believe in the reasons why. Simon Sinek, in his recent Ted Talk, made some riveting remarks on the subject.

“Every single person and organization in the planet knows what they do 100%. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiating proposition or proprietary process or USP. But very very few people and organizations know why they do what they do. And by why I don’t mean to make a profit – that’s a result. It’s always a result. By why I mean, what’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? As a result, the way we think, the way we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in. It’s obvious; we go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and organizations, regardless of their size or industry, all think, act, and communicate from the inside out. The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe. Here’s the best part. None of what I’m telling you is my opinion. It’s all grounded in the tenants of biology. Not psychology – biology. If you look at a cross section of the human brain, looking from the top down, what you see is that the human brain is actually broken into three major components that correlate perfectly with the Golden Circle. Our newest brain – our homosapien brain, our neocortex corresponds with the “what” level. The neocortex is responsible for all of our rational and analytical thought and language. The middle two sections make up our limbic brains and our limbic brain is responsible for all of our feelings, like trust and loyalty. It’s also responsible for all human behavior and decision making, and it has no capacity for language. In other words, when we communicate from the outside in then yes, people can understand vast amount of complicated information like features, benefits, facts, and figures, just doesn’t drive behavior. When we communicate from the inside out, we are talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior and then we allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things we say and do. This is where gut decisions come from.”

Ash knew the reasons why people would spend their hard-earned money and sometimes money that they didn’t have to purchase her beauty products. Ash understood that there is great power in celebrating those can sell the why behind the product? Every year consultants around the world converge in any city or town for the Mary Kay National Awards Night to be honored for their contributions to the empire. It was more than just receiving trinkets and gifts. Her consultants would walk through the fires of hell and back to support the company because they understand the reasons they exist and the why behind the leader!

There are leaders and then there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority but those who lead inspire us, whether they are individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead not because we have to but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with “why?” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.  Ash mastered the power of “why!” She is quoted saying, “there are two things that people want more than sex and money and that is recognition and appreciation.” Why, you may ask? And my response would be…think about it!



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