Simon Sinek: Start With WHY

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Simon Sinek is one of the leading speakers and thought leaders on the topic of Leadership. This video is his famous TED Talk where he introduces the concept of the “Golden Circle” that explains why some businesses (and people) have long-term success and why others don’t.

Why do some stand out?

He starts with “Why is it that some people achieve things that defies assumptions”? For example…

  • Why is Apple so consistently innovative when they are just another computer company with access to the same talent, consultants, resources.
  • Or Why does Martin Luther King have such a strong following when there were many others who suffered the same or worse than he and there were others who were better speakers?
  • Or Why did the Wright Brothers make powered manned flight when Samuel Pierpont Langley was better funded and qualified, but failed?

The Golden Circle

Because the great leaders and businesses of today think, act and behave the same way! It’s called the Golden Circle…

Golden Circle

Every person and organisation globally knows WHAT they do. Some know HOW they do it (their point of difference). Very few know WHY they do what they do (aiming to make a profit is not enough). Your WHY is your purpose, your cause or your belief. Why do you get out of bed in the morning and why should anyone care!

Most organisations act, think and communicate from the outside to the inside. Inspiring organisations do it from the inside to the outside. For example, if Apple’s message was “We make great computers (WHAT), they are beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly (HOW), do you want to buy one?” … would you be inspired to buy one? Compared to the statement “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently (WHY),The way we challenge the status quo is through beautiful design, and being user friendly (HOW), and we just so happen to make great computers (WHAT). Do you want to buy one?”

People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it!

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

There is also a link between this and our brain – thinking and logic on the outside, feelings on the inside (which drives behaviour). Have you ever heard “Yes it all makes sense but I won’t buy because it just doesn’t feel right?” It’s because they haven’t bought or heard our WHY. The goal is not to sell people what you have; the goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe.

Another great example of a success… 250,000 people came to Martin Luther King’s speech – there were no invitations, no email, no website. They came not because of what he said needed to be fixed, but his beliefs “I have a dream” rather than “I have a plan”. They showed up not for him, but because they believed what he believed. Some leaders may well have a position of power or authority. Those that lead actually inspire.

Simon Sinek is the author of “Start With Why” (

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