Jay Paterno targets the 'why' in seminar

Shawn Hardy
Jay Paterno, speaker at the 'Start With Why' seminar Wednesday, is shown with Jackie Mowen, left, executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce, and Georgina Cranston, executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce.

Maybe Renfrew Museum and Park's why is (hashtag)historymatters.

Smith Elliott Kearns and Co. may not have identified or articulated its why yet, but they're working on it.

"Why wouldn't anyone want to live in our community? That's our why," said Greencastle Borough Councilman Charles Eckstine after noting this area is not hard hit by natural disasters, is close to Washington, D.C., people can leave their keys in their cars in the driveway and the schools are good.

That was some of the talk at a seminar "Start With Why" hosted Wednesday by the Greencastle-Antrim and Greater Waynesboro chambers of commerce at Green Grove Gardens.

Under Joe Paterno, the Penn State Nittany Lions' why was "success with honor" on and off the field, according to his son Jay Paterno, who led the seminar based on the book "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek.

In the book and a TED Talk shown at the seminar, Sinek explains many people and businesses have identified what they do and how they do it, but the most successful — Martin Luther King Jr., the Wright brothers, Apple — have identified why.

Paterno coached under his father and his program was peppered with anecdotes from Penn State football, with some political experiences thrown in.

"Because I told you so" is the answer parents often give their children when they ask "why."

That works with 3-year-olds, but not running a business, coaching a team or working with customers.

"My Way," a 1970 book about his father, says "young men will not follow you blindly, they want to know why."

Paterno said building a business is like building a team. You have to attract and retain the best coaches, attract and retain the best players and "sell them on why."

He also talked about working with the Obama 2008 campaign, which involved a group of innovators who got people to feel they had ownership in the campaign through things like mybarackobama.com on the website. Once people feel ownership, it is hard for them to quit or change their minds.

On the other hand, Paterno said he heard Hillary Clinton's recent campaign ran from the top down, "this is how we're going to do it" and never gave a why.

Donald Trump has his why "I'm gonna make America great again."

"He gave why, not a lot of hows or whats, but he gave the people why and she did not," Paterno said.

One of nine assistant coaches at Penn State, Paterno shared the first coaching advice he learned from his father: OST

Organize (your thoughts and vision)

Sell (your vision to the other coaches)

Teach (it to the players like it was your own idea)

When Newt Gingrich was struggling shortly after he became speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, he called Paterno for advice and was told the same thing: Organize. Sell. Teach.