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Quarterly Insights from Our President & COO, Jennifer Reilly

What is your “WHY”?

About 8 years ago, I received an email and link from a colleague that read, “Excellent video; 20 minutes – I know you are really busy, but I think this video is important…”  At first, I put my “IT Hat” on figuring this might wreak havoc on my computer as some sort of SPAM, but after feeling confident that it was from a trusted source, I clicked on the YouTube link. I watched intently as Simon Sinek delivered an amazing TED Talk entitled, “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action.”  From the start, I am always in awe of anyone delivering a TED Talk – they always seem incredibly poised and charismatic. Instantly, I get sucked right into listening. This one especially did this to me not because of his charisma, but because the content was fascinating.

Admittedly, the ideas and thoughts it generated did get packed away for a few years and resurfaced at the end of last year…was it thinking about the impact of the pandemic and searching for purpose, continued return-to-work discussions, the new normal, employee retention and “The Great Resignation”, planning for Safety Partners’ 30th anniversary or all of the above that prompted it to resurface?  Likely it was all the above and I have since bought the book, workbook, and listened to the talk multiple times.  Sinek describes the Golden Circle of- Why, How, What. Everyone knows What they do, some people know How they do it, but few people or organizations know Why they do what they do. I cannot help but continue to believe that this is key for Safety Partners and any business.

My new crusade is to share with the Safety Partners’ team this “WHY” concept and have talked about it at our monthly staff meetings since April. I want the whole Safety Partners team to find and share their “WHY” and purpose. I realized so many thoughts and ideas were colliding when I was looking at the deck of cards produced by FINN Partners entitled, “Twenty-Five Principles for Building Stronger Relationships.”  Each card provides a contemporaneous and whimsical analogy of a guiding principle to help support success in your business (and real world) relationships. My analytical mindedness compelled me to sort the cards into what I thought I was “good at,” what are my development opportunities, and what do I aspire to be. There was one that rose to the top for me in each category. Feel free to reach out to me and I would be happy to share my Superpower, Kryptonite, and Aspiration!

One of the cards depicts “The Mother Teresa Principle” of Make a Difference. Although this might sound cliche, it brought my “WHY” reasons all together. My love of science coupled with wanting to make a difference is my “WHY.”  I see my everyday work at Safety Partners making a difference in the lives of many people in the following three ways:

  1. Patients benefit from the groundbreaking science and discoveries that happen at our clients because they have safe and compliant laboratories
  2. Lab researchers have improved and safer working conditions to be and do their best work and remain healthy
  3. Employees of Safety Partners have a job where the leaders care about them as people and strive to provide the best opportunities

Although I am definitely not Mother Teresa, being able to make a difference will continue to be my “WHY” and what gets me out of bed in the morning.  I recognize I am lucky to love the work I do at Safety Partners and hope you and your organization can find and articulate your “WHY” for doing the same.

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