Great Leaders ‘Start with Why’

Simon Sinek Golden CircleSimon Sinek has made a career out of pointing out that a great many companies (and leaders) are missing a certain something.  Here’s how a Sinek article explains the position:

“Every person and organization knows What they do—they know what products or services they sell. Some know How they do it, whether you call it your differentiating value proposition or your proprietary process or USP. But few leaders or organizations can clearly state Why they do what they do. This has nothing to do with money or profit—those are results. By Why, I mean what’s your purpose, cause or belief? Why does your company exist? Why did you get out of bed today? And why should anyone care?”

This is such a simple and powerful truth. The explanation of “why”, or even the consistency of action which leads to the right guess of “why”, a company does what it does, is so often missing in corporate messaging. And without it, consumers are left uninspired. True loyalty comes from inspiration, and inspiration comes from within – so to inspire someone means you need to appeal to their beliefs (not your own, or beliefs you want them to have). For this reason, Sinek points out that “Great leaders all start with Why. They tell you what they believe, their purpose or their cause and then ask you to join their cause. We follow leaders and buy from companies that inspire us, not because we have to or because we are manipulated to do so, but because we choose to.”  A TEDx video of Sinek from 2009 is an excellent overview of the reasons that everything important should “start with why”: