Starting with "Why"

Stephen Shedletzky to deliver Wheelhouse Talk

By Meghan McBrady | 3/13/17 12:27am


GVL / Courtesy - Limmud FSU Canada Stephen Shedletsky

by Limmud FSU Canada / Grand Valley Lanthorn

The “why” is the purpose, cause and/or belief that inspires individuals to do what they do in-and-out of the workplace.

To highlight engagement in the workplace, Stephen Shedletzky, the head engagement officer for motivational speaker Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” movement, will speak at the L.V. Eberhard Center Wednesday, March 15, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

During his lecture, which is part of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies’ Wheelhouse Talks series, Shedletzky will talk about individuals feeling inspired and safe when fulfilling their “why” in the workplace.

“Our intent with Stephen is to really expand the scope of the Wheelhouse Talks,” said Chadd Dowding, the program manager at the Peter C. Cook Leadership Academy (CLA).

The Wheelhouse Talks series is a CLA program that hosts speakers to share their respective leadership philosophies and experiences with the West Michigan community.

Throughout the free talks, perseverance, community and integrity are emphasized in leadership excellence.

“The goal is to bring in a diversity of speakers,” Dowding said. “We try to make sure that there is a diversity of thought among the folks who come to speak to the students. Our intent is to kind of cut across all spectrums to provide students with an opportunity to engage with different leaders from different perspectives.”

Dowding said the purpose of having Shedletzky, who also founded InspirAction and whose clients include Rutgers University and Columbia Sportswear, speak at the Wheelhouse Talks session was to focus on the “Start with Why” movement.

The movement emphasizes building platforms to inspire individuals to cooperate, trust and change freely within their workplace.

Asking “why” doesn’t mean a profit or a result, the "Start with Why" website said. Instead, the goal is for the individual to identify their purpose, cause or belief “that inspires you to do what you do.”

“We wanted to capture some of that energy and bring it to Grand Rapids and Grand Valley,” Dowding said. “Our hope is to share the ‘Start with Why’ movement/message with both our Cook Leadership fellows and the broader community.”

Emily Neu, a GVSU student majoring in health information management, said having someone like Shedletzky speak at GVSU would demonstrate how being engaged and trusting in their workplaces makes employees perform better.

Regarding health care, Neu said having a positive and engaged workforce reflects the quality of care the patients receive and also how new information and technology is utilized.

“If you don’t have full participation or you can’t get your entire staff/facility to engage in the process, any attempt to implement the new technology will fail,” Neu said.

Cordelia Ryan, an international business and economics major at GVSU, said being excited about being engaged within the workplace is the foundation for a successful business.

“It’s not needed, but it’s nice to have employees actually enjoy coming to work and doing their job from this engagement, and it just creates an overall happier environment for everyone,” Ryan said.

Acknowledging how the “why” is the building block for a company’s movement and purpose, Dowding said, would allow inspired individuals and organizations to note what is important to them and communicate they are effective leaders.

“Our intent is to build ethical and effective leaders for the 21st century,” Dowding said. “We think it is important to provide our students with access to some of the top leaders who are talking about leadership as a subject matter, not just sort of demonstrating it in their own lives, but people who are actively engaged in leadership as a profession.”

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