The “Why” is Key

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We affirm that well-prepared career and technical education students are the backbone of tomorrow’s workforce.

We leverage technological innovations to promote learning that is flexible and student centered.

We prepare students to enter the workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to be productive and valued leaders in their fields.

All of the lessons we learn about effective advertising in a Marketing 101 course seem to go out the window when we seek to bring about change to a large organization. I recall learning that an effective advertisement will, among other things, create a sense of urgency and will appeal to the consumer’s emotions–often times by personalizing the pitch. I was reminded of these tried-and-true marketing techniques when I viewed Dr. John Kotter’s videos, The Heart of Change and Leading Change: Establish a Sense of Urgency and Simon Sinek’s Start With Why.

By starting with a “why” statement, it forces the change agent to think beyond simply stating what an organization does; the “why” statement brings into focus and articulates a universal reason for existing. The why speaks to a higher calling.

Organizations are made up of people that usually are resistant to change. It is no mystery why…change brings about uncertainty, and the unknown is uncomfortable. Nevertheless, change is certainly needed–particularly in education. So the question becomes: how do we persuade stakeholders in our education circles to make the changes necessary in order to bring about better teaching and learning? Many educators are, well, well-educated. They are aware of the trends and the studies and the statistics. Repackaging this data and providing it to them in a new way will not bring them aboard the boat that will sail them to significant change.  We must find a way to appeal to their hearts. This is what Sinek and Kotter posit, and it is a strategy I intend to employ when sharing my innovation plan.


Kotter, J. (2011, March, 23). The heart of change. . Retrieved from

Kotter, J. (2013, August, 15). Leading change: Establish a sense of urgency. . Retrieved from

Sinek, S. (2014, March, 3). Start with why: Ted talk short edited. . Retrieved from

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