October 15, 2016
In the Military, Simon Sinek and his thoughts on leadership are starting to catch fire. Generals at all levels preach to their subordinates to consume what Sinek is putting out. His message is so widespread that the Commanding General of cadet command, the highest ranking officer responsible for the organization that produces the most officers in the Army every year, hands out his books for free.
Whats more revealing is that Sinek routinely talks about his experiences with the Marines, yet he thanks the Air Force on page one of his latest book, Leaders Eat Last.
It is apparent that his message is spreading through all branches of the Military and that what he has to say about leadership matters. It is not just the Military that is taking note, organizations everywhere are starting to paying attention to why it should also, Start With Why.
Why start with Why?
Sinek uses Apple as his model company for why any company or person should always start with Why. Apple’s reputation as transcended the industry and Apple in a sense is its own industry. They are not a computer company or a phone company or music company, they are simply a company that makes great products that has a massive audience that will buy whatever they sell.
Let me repeat that, they have a loyal following of millions of people that will buy whatever they sell.
Apple’s ability to produce products across multiple industries lies in its ability to draw strength in its purpose for existing. It simply aims to, “make great products.”
Check out the company’s vision statement:
“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self- honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.”
Notice that they didn’t mention making computers, phones, or music players. Since they are only focused on the process (their Why), the outcome is always consistent and it rarely matters what platform is used to create that outcome.
Sinek uses a philosophy that he created to help transmute this powerful message.
The Golden Circle
The Why of a company provides purpose. Furthermore, it lies at the center of a company and serves as the perpetual heartbeat that keeps a company going, no matter the external influences [too little (times of famine) and too much (times of excess and abundance)].
Straight from the source, www.simonsinek.com:
Very few people and very few organizations can clearly articulate Why they do what they do. Why is a purpose, a cause or a belief. It provides a clear answer to the questions, “Why do you get out of bed every morning?” “Why does your organization exist?” and “Why should that matter to anyone else?”
Making money is NOT a Why. Revenues, profits, salaries and other monetary measurements are simply results of what we do.
The Why is about our contribution to impact and serve others. The Why inspires us.
Leaders and organizations with the capacity to inspire all think, act and communicate from the inside-out. They start with their Why. When they communicate their purpose or cause first, they communicate in a way that drives decision-making and behavior.
It literally taps the part of the brain that influences behavior.
Here’s an example with the same law firm, starting with their Why:
Why: “We believe in servicing the needs of others so that they can focus on the difference they need to make.“
How: “We do so by bringing on some of the most intelligent legal professionals who graduated from the world’s top schools. We work with top performing organizations, most of which are on the Fortune 500 list, so that we can help them make a larger difference in the world. And, we like to go above and beyond, so we have built pristine offices.”
What: “We are a world-class law firm. Come see for yourself.”
If the people at this firm actually believe in their Why and think, act and communicate starting with their Why, they will attract people who believe what they believe and who want to be a part of their cause.
The example is clear cut. Too many organizations start with What; we are a world-class law firm. But that is not what is going to sustain success and inspire its employees. If anything, it ties everyone to a fixed-mindset that is overly focused on looking and acting world-class.
Starting with Why creates a foundation for sustained success and can propel a company from nothing to something.
“We aim to provide quality information that will improve your life by encouraging action and providing the inspiration needed to succeed. We believe you can accomplish anything with the right mindset and tools, and a never ending, bottomless pit of enduring, life changing amount of hardwork.
We write about the truth. There is too much information available. Sorting through the piles of misinformation takes a life-time of effort and it also takes experience. We provide both. We delivery our content in a simple and easy way to understand and use. Whatever you aim to do, you must ensure that your starting point is conducive to long-term success.”
– The Outwork Way