Why Do You Do What You Do?

Most of MasterControl's customers are highly 
regulated companies that provide important 
products to people throughout the world.
Have you ever asked yourself why you do what you do? When you find yourself buried in quality procedures and SOPs, or embroiled in a heated meeting over incomplete CAPA tasks, do you ever question the meaning of your work?

Back when MasterControl had only 50 employees, it didn’t occur to me to ask this question. Now that the company is so much bigger and our presence has expanded worldwide, the question has become more relevant.

Simon O. Sinek’s TED speech about the concept of the Golden Circle also made me think about the purpose behind what we do. Sinek theorized that people don’t care about what you do, they care why you do it (1).

Of course, I’ve always known MasterControl’s purpose, but recently prompted by the Golden Circle concept, I made a more conscious effort to formalize our mission and vision. I spoke about our purpose at the 2014 Masters Summit, posing the above question to our customers and also sharing my own answer (2). So, why do we work so hard to provide leading QMS solutions to our customers? To help our customers bring great product to market sooner and at a lower cost—increasing the number of people who benefit from the critical products our customers make.

This article is related to the Video: Who is MasterControl?

Highly Regulated Companies
Most of our customers are highly regulated companies that provide important products, to people throughout the world. Oil States, SynCardia, and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) are but a few of them.

Oil States has been manufacturing products for the offshore industry for more than 30 years, including equipment used to recover oil during the BP oil spill in 2010. SynCardia’s temporary Total Artificial Heart is a life-saving device for patients who are at risk of dying while waiting for a heart transplant. IAVI designs and develops AIDS vaccine candidates, as well as conducts clinical trials in partnership with researchers across the globe.

Their mission of bringing great products to more people faster and with higher quality is our mission. With such an important purpose, our work means so much more than developing software or fixing a bug.

Enormous Impact
We estimate that MasterControl customers produce about 280,000 products altogether. Helping to lower the cost and increase the speed with each of these products has great impact.  For example, one of our medical device customers reduced its change control process from 46 days to six days.  This customer’s product was used in over 100 new patients every day. So with a change control process improvement of 40 days, 4,000 patients were able to use the improved product, avoiding any defects or issues that were solved with the change. This is just one example of how MasterControl and our customers collectively affect millions of people worldwide.

Try asking yourself why you do what you do. As the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” When you clarify the purpose of your work in your mind, it might make the pile of audit findings on your desk or your current validation project less daunting.

To watch Jon’s presentation at the 2014 Masters Summit, click here.

Jon Beckstrand is responsible for the overall direction and vision of MasterControl. Since his leadership began in 2002, MasterControl has enjoyed robust growth, introduced an array of new solutions, continued the company's push for innovation, and advanced its position as a leading provider of quality management software and services for regulated companies.
Jon began his career as general counsel for a developer of credit union software systems. He then worked as a software-focused strategy and transactions consultant for KPMG in Chicago and Silicon Valley. Jon received a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Utah and a law degree from Brigham Young University and is a member of the Utah State Bar.

(1) Simon Sinek is the best-selling author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Action.”

(2) The Masters Summit is MasterControl’s premier educational conference for customers. Nearly 400 people attended the seventh Masters Summit, held on Oct. 8-9, 2014, at the Snowbird Resort in Utah.