Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, has received over 30 million views on the TED Talk website. Leadership is a topic I am very curious about and after watching the talk I decided that Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action,
would be a great book for myself and the PropelHer community.
Simon believes that “There are only two ways to influence human behaviour: you can manipulate it or inspire it”. The fact is that not everyone in a position of authority is a leader. Some people will manipulate people, which only works for short amounts of time. A true leader is “able to create a following of people who act not because they are swayed, but because they are inspired”. And how does one inspire people? Through ensuring their WHY is at the centre of the communication.
The central concept of the book is The Golden Circle. The Golden Circle starts with WHY in the middle, then the next layer is HOW and then the final layer is WHAT. The belief is that “The Golden Circle provides compelling evidence of how much more we can achieve if we remind ourselves to start everything we do by first asking why”. Simon absolutely believes that for any leader, and business, to be successful they need to know there why and it needs to be at the centre of everything they do and say.
This is true to inspiring people at multiple levels. From a sales point of view, Simon states that “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”. From an employer perspective “Companies with a strong sense of WHY are able to inspire their employees”.
A part of the reason why having a WHY is so important is it allows others to feel like they belong and “Our need to belong is not rational, but it is a constant that exists across all people in all cultures”.
Apple is spoken about numerous times in the book. Steve Jobs was an inspiring leader with a clear WHY, which resulted in customers and employees buying into his vision. Part of the reason why products with a clear WHY are successful is because they “give people a way to tell the outside world who they are and what they believe”. Products with a WHY become a symbol and buy using that product a consumer is making a statement about themselves. Steve Jobs would be described as a WHY-type. However, a business can’t be formed with just a WHY-person. For a WHY-person to be successful they will need to find a HOW-person. Someone who will help turn the vision into a reality.
A chapter I really enjoyed was How the tipping point tips. This explored the Law of Diffusion, which is a popular law used by marketers. By following that law, you aim to penetrate 15-18% of the market. However, Simon believes that “If you have the discipline to focus on the early adopters, the majority will come along eventually”.
Overall, I enjoyed Start With Why. The Golden Circle wasn’t a concept I had come across before and I can see the benefits of how knowing your WHY is useful in both life and business. I definitely believe there is value in reading the book, over the TED Talk. However, some examples are drawn out a little out.
I read Start With Why as part of PropelHer’s Book Club for Ambitious Women. Want to join a community of ambitious women who read excellent books to support personal development and professional success? Come join PropelHer’s Book Club.
Like what you read? Leave a comment below and why not buy a copy of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action