How starting with the "why" of your business brings others along and fuels your success
"People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it." - Simon Sinek, Start with Why
KEY CONCEPTS OF START WITH WHY
- Your vision, mission and/or passion is the core of your WHY.
- Finding and sharing your WHY compels others to share that vision and mission.
- Most companies share WHAT and HOW they do what they do, not WHY they do it.
- Employees are more innovative, trusting and loyal if they understand their company's WHY.
THE STORY OF START WITH WHY
Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” was a hit from the start.
Over the past decade it's been viewed more than 64 million times and is the 3rd most watched TED Talk of all time. It's spawned articles on the best Simon Sinek quotes, and made him one of the top thought leaders of the 21st century.
And the simple idea behind it is this:
You start with why.
As soon as a company’s WHY is put into words, says Simon, the culture becomes a little more tangible and the right decision becomes clear immediately.
WHY STARTING WITH WHY IS SO IMPORTANT
Most companies don't do this. They start with WHAT they do, and HOW they do it.
- We make software that tracks animal movement. (WHAT)
- We use sensors that feed data into our tracking app. (HOW)
Starting with WHY presents a more compelling picture.
- We want to save Australia's endangered native animals. (WHY)
The WHY is your core purpose or mission, the passion that launched your company or your career.
Customers want to engage in your company because they believe in it, and in you.
"Whether we like to admit it or not, we are not entirely rational beings. If we were, no one would ever fall in love and no one would ever start a business." - Simon Sinek, Start with Why
It's one of the valuable business concepts brought to life by The Growth Faculty via our events with international thought leaders, including those in our popular live virtual Masterclasses.
EXPLAINING THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
Simon Sinek's 2011 global bestseller Start with Why expands on his concept of The Golden Circle (pictured below). It’s inspired hundreds of thousands of leaders across the globe at the highest level, including those of Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. military.
It illustrates well the idea that starting with WHY (the inner circle) sells an idea to the customer, not a product.
Without expressing a WHY, a company may resort to manipulation techniques such as Price, Promotion, Fear, Aspiration, Peer Pressure, and Novelty to sell products and services.
Both the talk and the book have the central premise that knowing and communicating Why you do what you do holds enormous power to inspire yourself and others.
Each ring of The Golden Circle is informed by the WHY - so those in operations, sales, customer enquiries etc all have the company's WHY at the centre of their actions and decisions.
Image: Lynne Cazaly infographic
WHY STARTING WITH WHY DOESN'T JUST INSPIRE CUSTOMERS
It engages employees to work towards a common goal - the mindset needed to plan an "infinite game."
- It creates space for innovation. Employees bring the WHY to life in everyday actions and choices.
- It inspires people to persist. Failures and hard work are bearable when a common vision is the goal.
- It develops trust within the team. A common mission and goal unites the team.
- It develops trust in leadership. Leaders are seen to be supporting a vision greater than their own personal gain.
See also: Where Simon Sinek and Brené Brown agree
BEWARE SUCCESS AND THE TEMPTATION TO MOVE AWAY FROM YOUR WHY
As companies grow, it's tempting to focus on measurable metrics to the detriment of the WHY.
If the focus tilts too much towards the WHAT employees will focus primarily on the financials and other data - and it becomes harder to maintain the loyalty of staff and customers.
Think long and hard.
WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?
By WHY, Simon Sinek suggests you go deep inside to discover your purpose, cause or belief.
“Great leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand the art before the science. They win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY.” - Simon Sinek, Start with Why
The Growth Faculty is proud to present New York Times best-selling author, TED Talk sensation and "unshakable optimist", Simon Sinek in a powerful and exclusive two-part live virtual event this November, 2020.
As well, The Growth Faculty has this year launched virtual masterclasses - the Time For Transformation series; especially designed for business leaders. We make learning and development easy and inexpensive by bringing your team the world's renowned thought leader. Ensure your team are trained to pivot, adapt and innovate in these unprecedented times. See who's up next.