Bret Ellis - Vice President for Information Technology


Bret Ellis, Weber State University
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(801) 626-7889
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Starting With Why
MESSAGE FROM THE VP OF IT

Why do you do what you do?
What is your motivation for coming to work each day?

What gives your work purpose and you satisfaction at the end of the day?
 

Recently the Information Technology Division Leadership convened to discuss and teach each other about a book we had studied entitled “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” written by Simon Sinek.  

Sinek’s text is full of thoughtful presentations about leadership, the reason that “why” is first followed by “how” and then completed with “what,” and some poignant examples of what happens when great companies who became great because they followed their “why” lost their market when their “why” became forgotten.

Here are a few thoughts from the book:

  • People who come to work with a clear sense of WHY are less prone to giving up after a failures because they understand the higher cause.
  • Everyone knows WHAT they do, some know HOW they do it, but few know WHY they do WHAT they do.
  • Those who know WHY need those who know HOW.


At the end of the day we took two statements provided by our University President Charles Wight who had thoughtfully created for us…for the University’s Why, 

“We help students transform their lives for good.”

And for the IT Division’s Why: 

“IT makes it possible for people to do the right thing.”

This year, beginning in September, the members of the IT Division will discover, refine and share their personal “why” statement.  Using three “why” statements; the University why, the Division why and their personal why, we expect that how we do, and what we do will support our why as a contributing member of the IT staff and the university in fulfilling it’s WHY. 

For some time we, in the IT Division have asked these four questions…now understanding the importance of “why” better we have refined the questions.

  • Whom do we serve, and what do they (those we intend to serve) want need/have to do? What is their WHY?
  • With what services do we provide support, for their Why?
  • How do we organize to support the University Why?
  • How do we know we are doing a great job?  What is the evidence that we are meeting their WHY?


We expect that using these questions, and following our university, division and personal “why” statements will help us find greater fulfillment in our daily contribution to those we serve and ultimately to the university.

Dr. Bret Ellis