"Start with Why - How Great leaders inspire others to take action" from Simon Sinek is a must-read book for all business owners...and even more in the digital transformation era. But most of them lack time to read all business books published every day. In this 2 minutes read, you will learn the key take-aways from the book "Start with why" and why this book is very modern-day, even if it was first published in 2009.
Start with Why
Simon Sinek explains that great leaders inspire others by communicating from the inside out; putting the Why (the purpose) before the How (the process), or the What (the product).
Any person or organization can explain what they do, some can explain how they are different but very few can clearly articulate why.
Sinek uses real-world examples of great leaders, from Martin Luther King to Steve Jobs, to show they all think, act and communicate the same way - and it is the complet opposite of what everyone else is doing.
To motivate action, you can manipulate or inspire
Most companies have no clue why their customers are their customers (and why their employees are their employees)..and consequently do not know how to attract more customers (and employees) or encourage loyalty among existing customers.
Consequently, decisions are made on assumptions.
There are 2 ways to influence human behaviour; manipulation and inspiration.
Manipulation includes dropping price, running promotions, using fear / aspirations / novelty / peer pressure or promising innovation.
Manipulation works and brings transaction but it is short term; it does not bring loyalty nor create trust.
How to inspire others?
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
When leaders communicate starting from the inside (the why), they talk directly to the limbic part of the brain that controls decision making. That part of the brain controls emotions but has no capacity for language. Decisions made by the limbic brain, gut decisions tend to be faster and higher quality decisions. Without a why, decision is harder to make and people look to science, data to guide decisions.
Sinek translated his philosophy in a canvas called the Golden Circle (see picture).
By starting with the Why, leaders build a group of customers that trust them, true fans which can make their business last a lifetime. Those fans always prefer the product of their favorite creator or company over cheaper or even better solutions, because they belong to the company’s Why.
If you want to inspire others, start by telling them why you do things, eventually followed by how you do things, until finally revealing what, and you’ll see a massive change in engagement.
Hire people for their cause not for their skills
In a constantly changing world, hire people with a cause rather than skills. Skills can be learned. On the leadership side, align all decisions, actions and communication with the Why to inspire your team.
In a “War of talents” context, being a company with a clear Why will increase your attractiveness, particularly among the younger generations. 87% of Millennials believe than companies should do more than generate profit.
The Why being central in the digital transformation process
Digital transformation is a holistic approach of the business and relies on 4 pillars: Vision, People, Process and Technology. Many companies do not have a true vision but objectives. Starting with defining their Why, followed by How and What, is a step-1 in a successful digital transformation which relies on company culture.
You can’ t control culture but you can inspire it.