Start with Why by Simon Sinek

The Five Big Ideas

  1. Your WHY is your purpose, cause or belief.
  2. Every inspiring leader and organization, regardless of size or industry, start with WHY
  3. People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.
  4. Knowing our WHY is essential for lasting success and the ability to avoid being lumped in with others.
  5. When your WHY goes fuzzy, it becomes much more difficult to maintain the growth, loyalty, and inspiration that helped drive your original success.

Great leaders are able to inspire people to act. And those who are able to inspire give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit to be gained.

“Most businesses today are making decisions based on a set of incomplete or, worse, completely flawed assumptions about what’s driving their business.”

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.”

“Through positive in nature, aspirational messages are most effective with those who lack discipline or have a nagging fear or insecurity that they don’t have the ability to achieve their dreams on their own (which, at various times for various reasons, is everyone).”

“Peer pressure works not because the majority of the experts are always right, but because we fear that we may be wrong.”

“If a company adds too many novel ideas too often, it can have a similar impact on the product or category as the price game. In an attempt to differentiate with more features, the products start to look and feel more like commodities. And, like price, the need to add yet another product to the line to compensate for the commoditization ends in a downward spiral.”

“Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or a better price to continue doing business with you.”

For transactions that occur an average of once, carrots and sticks are the best way to elicit the desired behavior.

Every single company and organization on the planet knows WHAT they do. Some companies and people know HOW they do WHAT they do. Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do.

By WHY, Sinek means what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?

Every inspiring leader and organization, regardless of size or industry, thinks, acts and communicates from the inside out.

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

When communicating from the inside out, the WHY is offered as the reason to buy and the WHATs serve as the tangible proof of that belief.

“Knowing WHY is essential for lasting success and the ability to avoid being lumped in with others.”

“Knowing your WHY is not the only way to be successful, but it is the only way to maintain a lasting success and have a greater blend of innovation and flexibility.”

“When a WHY goes fuzzy, it becomes much more difficult to maintain the growth, loyalty, and inspiration that helped drive the original success.”

Instead of asking, “WHAT should we do to compete?” you need to ask yourself, “WHY did we start doing WHAT we’re doing in the first place, and WHAT can we do to bring our cause to life considering all the technologies and market opportunities available today?”

“No matter where we go, we trust those with whom we are able to perceive common values or beliefs.”

“We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.”

“Companies that fail to communicate a sense of WHY force us to make decisions with only empirical evidence.”

“Great leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand art before science. They win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY.”

“If a company does not have a clear sense of WHY then it is impossible for the outside world to perceive anything more than WHAT the company does.”