Understanding the Purpose and Whys Behind Difficult Decisions

Taking Risks

I recently attended a local event where I had the privilege of hearing from a former CIA worker turned professor. He had many exciting stories of operations around the globe. Not all of the operations were easy as they involved putting himself and his family at risk. For instance, he once had to come out from hiding and make a ten block sprint to his safe house. Unfortunately, he was intercepted by some bad people. When he was able to get out of that situation, he talked about returning to the safe house and feeling excited by the fact that he had survived the experience. As he reflected on his career and the many risks he took, he simply said, “I was happy to serve and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” He talked about pride, sense of duty to the country, and willingness to take risks to ultimately help others.

Understanding the Purpose

This gentleman knew the purpose of the CIA. He knew the dangers and he knew why he risked his life over and over again. There was pride in his purpose which is why he worked as an agent for over 30 years. Although we aren’t doing the work of the CIA at Interstates, our employees do make sacrifices. Employees make sacrifices every day for our clients, team members, and the company. Sometimes these decisions are incredibly difficult. However, it is much easier when we understand the purpose or the why behind these tough decisions. This understanding helps to frame these decisions.

At Interstates, we’ve defined our purpose and our why we exist:

  • Pursue a better way.
  • Make a difference for our clients.
  • Provide opportunities for our people.

We stand by each of these statements and continually ask our team to consider these when making decisions. Take a moment to reflect on these three statements and think about your own purpose and whys.


Andrew Roelfs, Interstates Human Resources