When I watched Simon Sinek’s famous Ted Talk on YouTube a few years back, I was fascinated by the ease at which he described something that in my mind was meant to be absolutely foundational: everything should start with a purpose.
This book works on a very simple idea. And Sinek is right on target.
If you don’t have a burning desire or “why” established for your business, career, or area of interest, you’ll likely give up, burn out, or not have the passion needed to be your best.
He breaks down not only how to rethink what you do each day in a different light, but more importantly why you do it.
He has created a book filled with examples of leadership, some psychology, and how these combined to make for a company’s success. And at the core, his solution was to ‘start with why.’
What caught my attention is the fact that the author looks in detail of why customers choose one company (or brand) vs. another. And how much the key reason for this behaviour is unknown to most companies.
Companies don’t know why their customers are their customers, odds are good that they don’t know why their employees are their employees either.
The key idea that Sinek brings forward is called The Golden Circle, which looks at the Why, as the origin of How, then What. Whereas modern management would apparently concentrate more on the what, the reality is that people are attracted by why companies proceed with a certain product, develop a certain brand, propose a certain job.
"People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it."
What’s good about Sinek’s book is that it ties in the entire value chain of relationship between customer, workers, and decision makers. The purpose becomes a connector for everything, provided it is perceived as authentic.
This can only work if trust is built within the organisation. By building trust and enabling a communication that nurtures the purpose, we are really able to promote the best results.
A culture of achievement and prosperity that extends to all the stakeholders of the company.
Despite seeming simplistic, the ideas of Sinek become foundational for purpose-led companies. The many examples provided in his book are already there to talk to us.
But we don’t need to necessarily check the big enterprise to find results of this drive based on purpose. Also at the individual level, successful artists, for example, do all share a sense of belonging to their inner why.
Two more suggestions are given by the author: 1) in an organisational context it’s important to establish a reach of the “why” across the organisation, especially in moments of change. Only by reaching the “Tipping Point” can you ensure success. 2) you need to start with WHY, but also know the HOW to be able to succeed.
This reading (which I’ve now just finished for the second time), has been so important that I’ve decided I shall read it a third time.
"We imagine a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every day inspired, feel safe wherever they are and end the day fulfilled by the work they do."
Start with Why By Simon Sinek
Paperback | 256 pp. | Penguin