Book Summaries

Start with Why by Simon Sinek 

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In Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,  British-American author Simon Sinek shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek highlights purpose-driven leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, John F Kennedy, Steve Jobs, The Wright Brothers and companies (Apple, Harley-Davidson, Disney, Southwest Airline) as models of how a purpose can be created to inspire a culture together, away from the manipulative society we live in today.

 His TED Talk based on START WITH WHY is one of the most watched TED video of all time.

The Golden Circle

A framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

The concept of The Golden Circle was inspired by the golden ratio—a simple mathematical relationship that has fascinated mathematicians, biologists, architects, artists, musicians and naturists since the beginning of history. From the Egyptians to Pythagoras to Leonardo da Vinci, many have looked to the golden ratio to provide a mathematical formula for proportion and even beauty. It also supports the notion that there is more order in nature than we think, as in the symmetry of leaves and the geometric perfection of snowflakes.

The Golden Circle provides compelling evidence of how much more we can achieve if we remind ourselves to start everything we do by first asking why. The Golden Circle is an alternative perspective to existing assumptions about why some leaders and organizations have achieved such a disproportionate degree of influence.

WHAT: Every single company and organization on the planet knows WHAT they do. This is true no matter how big or small, no matter what industry. Everyone is easily able to describe the products or services a company sells or the job function they have within that system. WHATs are easy to identify.”

HOW: Some companies and people know HOW they do WHAT they do. Whether you call them a “differentiating value proposition,” “proprietary process” or “unique selling proposition,” HOWs are often given to explain how something is different or better. Not as obvious as WHATs, many think these are the differentiating or motivating factors in a decision. It would be false to assume that’s all that is required. There is one missing detail:

WHY: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money—that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.

Start with Why

Companies and organizations with a clear sense of WHY never worry about it. They don’t think of themselves as being like anyone else and they don’t have to “convince” anyone of their value. They don’t need complex systems of carrots and sticks. They are different, and everyone knows it. They start with WHY in every thing they say and do.

Knowing your WHY is not the only way to be successful, but it is the only way to maintain a lasting success and have a greater blend of innovation and flexibility. When a WHY goes fuzzy, it becomes much more difficult to maintain the growth, loyalty and inspiration that helped drive the original success.

It’s What You Can’t See That Matters

Products with a clear sense of WHY give people a way to tell the outside world who they are and what they believe. Remember, people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. If a company does not have a clear sense of WHY then it is impossible for the outside world to perceive anything more than WHAT the company does. And when that happens, manipulations that rely on pushing price, features, service or quality become the primary currency of differentiation.

Discipline of HOW

Once you know WHY you do what you do, the question is HOW will you do it? HOWs are your values or principles that guide HOW to bring your cause to life. HOW we do things manifests in the systems and processes within an organization and the culture.”

Understanding HOW you do things and, more importantly, having the discipline to hold the organization and all its employees accountable to those guiding principles enhances an organization’s ability to work to its natural strengths. Understanding HOW gives greater ability, for example, to hire people or find partners who will naturally thrive when working with you.

Consistency of WHAT

Being authentic is not a requirement for success, but it is if you want that success to be a lasting success. Again, it goes back to WHY. Authenticity is when you say and do the things you actually believe. But if you don’t know WHY the organization or the products exist on a level beyond WHAT you do, then it is impossible to know if the things you say or do are consistent with your WHY. Without WHY, any attempt at authenticity will almost always be inauthentic.

Leadership vs Leading

Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.

Those who lead are able to do so because those who follow trust that the decisions made at the top have the best interest of the group at heart. In turn, those who trust work hard because they feel like they are working for something bigger than themselves.

“It’s hard to lead when those whom you are supposed to be leading are not inclined to follow.”

On Culture

Culture

A company is a culture. A group of people brought together around a common set of values and beliefs. It’s not products or services that bind a company together. It’s not size and might that make a company strong, it’s the culture—the strong sense of beliefs and values that everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist, all share. So the logic follows, the goal is not to hire people who simply have a skill set you need, the goal is to hire people who believe what you believe.

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it,

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it, and Apple says and does only the things they believe. If WHAT you do doesn’t prove what you believe, then no one will know what your WHY is and you’ll be forced to compete on price, service, quality, features and benefits; the stuff of commodities. Apple has a clear and loud megaphone and is exceptionally good at communicating its story.

“Starting with WHY not only helps you know which is the right advice for you to follow, but also to know which decisions will put you out of balance. You can certainly make those decisions if you need to, but don’t make too many of them, otherwise over time, no one will know what you believe.”

When the WHY Goes, WHAT Is All You’ll Have Left

When people know WHY you do WHAT you do, they are willing to give you credit for everything that could serve as proof of WHY. When they are unclear about your WHY, WHAT you do has no context. Even though the things you do or decisions you make may be good, they won’t make sense to others without a clear understanding of WHY.

Learning the WHY of a company or an organization or understanding the WHY of any social movement always starts with one thing: you.

Every company, organization or group with the ability to inspire starts with a person or small group of people who were inspired to do something bigger than themselves. Gaining clarity of WHY, ironically, is not the hard part. It is the discipline to trust one’s gut, to stay true to one’s purpose, cause or beliefs. Remaining completely in balance and authentic is the most difficult part. The few that are able to build a megaphone, and not just a company, around their cause are the ones who earn the ability to inspire. In doing so, they harness a power to move people that few can even imagine.

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile -info@lanredahunsi.com

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