Stuck in a rut at your desk? Facing a blank page and a deadline? Dealing with an employee who seems to have lost their way - lost their mojo? Try asking yourself, your employee, or your friend a few Whys. Get to the purpose, the cause, the belief. More often than not it’s going to get you moving in the right direction because Why is a real kick-starter, and a great provocation for the mind (if not the soul!)
Anthropologist-cum-author-cum-marketing-guy, Simon Sinek, has a simple model for inspirational leadership that he calls “The Golden Circle.”
He says most organizations define themselves from the outside in (What, How, Why) – from the clearest concept to the fuzziest. Inspired leaders and inspired organisations however - all think and act and communicate from the inside out. The exact opposite of how everyone else is pitching themselves. They lead with ‘Why’, they lead with their core values, and they lead with their vision.
“Every human being, every single organisation on the planet knows What they do. 100%.”
“Some know How they do it.” (USP, differentiated value proposition, proprietary process)
“But very, very few people or organisations know Why they do what they do.”
Not to make a profit, “that’s a result” as Sinek says, rather by Why, he means, what is your purpose? What is your cause? What is your belief?
Tough questions! But the answers are integral for any organisation. And they’re often at the core of success.
Tougher still... Why does your organisation exist? And why should anyone care?
Although we’re looking at this in the context of leadership and commerce it is worth noting that these questions are excellent motivators in any situation.
Looking at the way Apple communicates to the world, Sinek shows how Why is the driving force behind their message.
While competitors might lead with What (high spec, great computers) Apple, who certainly have the What to compete – go about things differently, and lead with the Why.
“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the staus quo. We believe in thinking differently.”
“The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly... We just happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one?”
Watch the Talk - Simon Sinek – How great leaders inspire action – TED