|How great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek|
The following article is derived from the accompanying video. It is provided as an additional resource for your reading convenience.
In this Ted Talk, Simon Sinek asks, “How do you explain when things don’t go as we assume? Or better, how do you explain when others are able to achieve things that seem to defy all of the assumptions? For example: Why is Apple so innovative? Year after year, after year, they’re more innovative than all their competition.”
“Yet, they’re just a computer company. They’re just like everyone else. They have the same access to the same talent, the same agencies, the same consultants, the same media. Then why is it that they seem to have something different?”, Sinek asks his audience.
He continues posing questions, “Why is it that Martin Luther King led the Civil Rights Movement? He wasn’t the only man who suffered in pre-civil rights America, and he certainly wasn’t the only great orator of the day. Why him? And why is it that the Wright brothers were able to figure out controlled, powered man flight when there were certainly other teams who were better qualified, better funded –and they didn’t achieve powered man flight, and the Wright brothers beat them to it.”
“There’s something else at play here. About three and a half years ago, I made a discovery. And this discovery profoundly changed my view on how I thought the world worked, and it even profoundly changed the way in which I operate in it. As it turns out, there’s a pattern. As it turns out, all the great inspiring leaders and organisations in the world, whether it’s Apple or Martin Luther King or the Wright brothers, they all think, act and communicate the exact same way. And it’s the complete opposite to everyone else. All I did was codify it, and it’s probably the world’s simplest idea”, Sinek explains.
Sinek says he calls it the golden circle. “Why? How? What? This little idea explains why some organisations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t. Let me define the terms really quickly. Every single person, every single organisation on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiated value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP. But very, very few people or organisations know why they do what they do”, Sinek further explains.
“And by “why” I don’t mean “to make a profit.” That’s a result. It’s always a result. By “why,” I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organisation exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?”, Sinek asks.
Sinek then states, “As a result, the way we think, we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in, it’s obvious. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and the inspired organisations –,regardless of their size, regardless of their industry –all think, act and communicate from the inside out.”
He then gives the following example. “I use Apple because they’re easy to understand and everybody gets it. If Apple were like everyone else, a marketing message from them might sound like this: “We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. Want to buy one?” “Meh.”
“That’s how most of us communicate”, Sinek says. “That’s how most marketing and sales are done, that’s how we communicate interpersonally. We say what we do, we say how we’re different or better and we expect some sort of a behaviour, a purchase, a vote, something like that. Here’s our new law firm: We have the best lawyers with the biggest clients, we always perform for our clients. Here’s our new car: It gets great gas mileage, it has leather seats. Buy our car. But it’s uninspiring.”
“Here’s how Apple actually communicates. “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
Sinek asks his audience, “Totally different, right? You’re ready to buy a computer from me. I just reversed the order of the information. What it proves to us is that people don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.”
Sinek continues by saying, “The goal is not just to sell to people who need what you have; the goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe. The goal is not just to hire people who need a job; it’s to hire people who believe what you believe. I always say that, you know, if you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money, but if they believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”
He goes on to tell his Ted audience, “Listen to politicians now, with their comprehensive 12-point plans. They’re not inspiring anybody. Because there are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us. Whether they’re individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to.”
Sinek wraps us his talk by sharing, “We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with ‘Why’ that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them. Thank you very much.”
Simon Sinek is a British/American author, marketing consultant, and motivational speaker. He has written three books including the 2009 best seller Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action