Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

by Simon Sinek

If you’re having trouble launching a successful marketing campaign or feel that your company isn’t operating as efficiently as it should be, Start With Why by Simon Sinek is the book for you. Sinek illustrates how understanding the “why” of your company is the most important thing in being successful—you must know why you do what you do. With this in mind, he explains how to create an advertising campaign that reaches a broad range of people.

Summary Notes

A World That Doesn’t Start With Why

“Every instruction we give, every course of action we set, every result we desire, starts with the same thing: a decision”

All of us want to make the right decisions. However, all the decisions we make are based on our perception of the world around us and the information we gather - and this may not always be accurate. While gathering information on a problem does lead to short-term solutions, what is more important is to assess the process that led to the problem. This will lead to long-term success.

When running a business, this mindset becomes even more important. To ensure customer satisfaction while expanding your market, you must fully understand the process behind why customers choose your product or service. This will help you come up with a few highly effective strategies to attract more customers and inspire loyalty in your current ones, rather than several strategies that vary in effectiveness.

Actions to take

The Golden Circle

“There are a few leaders who choose to inspire rather than manipulate in order to motivate people.”

The Golden Circle is a way of thinking that provides perspective on situations and enhances one’s ability to inspire. Many individuals and businesses tend to start from the outside in, i.e. with the “What”. No matter what industry you look at, most organizations and those involved are clear on what they do. However, not all of them know how they do what they do - which refers to an explanation of how something is better than another, e.g., a proprietary process, etc. Even fewer know why do what they do, which refers to their purpose.

When The Golden Circle is properly applied to a business, the why will be answered before how and lastly, the what. Customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. This becomes especially important when you want to diversify the products and/or services your business offers. If you don’t properly communicate why you do what you do, even if you are known for making one product well, your customers will not be attracted to any new products you decide to release. 

The main reason that The Golden Circle works is that people choose products that are in line with their beliefs - which the “why” communicates. It gives people a feeling of belonging, plus, we are naturally drawn to leaders and organizations who are good at communicating what they believe in.

Actions to take

Leaders Need A Following

“Trust begins to emerge when we have a sense that another person or organization is driven by things other than their own self gain.”

The reason humans are so successful is largely due to our ability to form cultures and communities. To run a successful business, it’s important to have a good company culture that aligns with both your and your employees’ beliefs. This means that the hiring process is very important - the goal is to hire people who believe what you believe. This is why it is essential to define the “why” of your organization - after all, if you don’t know what it is, how are you supposed to communicate it to your employees?

Additionally, when you focus on building a team of people who all believe in the same why as you do, you ensure that they will work together as a team, rather than simply doing their job for the money. The key thing here is that average companies give employees something to work on, whereas innovative companies give employees something to work towards.

This attitude should be applied towards your customers too - you should aim to attract customers who believe in what you believe as this will inspire long-term loyalty. This is where the Law of Diffusion comes in. It dictates that 2.5% of people are innovators, 13.5% are early adopters, 34% are part of the early majority and late majority each, and laggards make up the final 16%. Innovators and early adopters are similar in their consumer habits - they trust their instinct and their instinct is often attracted to the why of a product or organization. Those in the early and late majority do also prioritize the why, but they typically need to see someone else use the product before they would consider buying it. Therefore, to achieve mass-market success, you should target the innovators and early adopters with your why, and the early and late majority will follow.

Actions to take

How To Rally Those Who Believe

“Energy can excite. But only charisma can inspire.”

All great leaders have clarity of why they do what they do. They believe in a purpose or cause that is bigger than themselves and are therefore able to connect with others on a deeper level and inspire them. This enables much-needed flexibility in an ever-changing world - the products or services your organization offers can easily adapt and overcome any obstacle if you stay true to why your organization does what it does. This is why it is absolutely essential that you get your message out there and heard by as many people as possible.

Clarity, discipline, and consistency when it comes to the why of your organization are the three key factors for success. Take Apple, for example. It is one of the most successful organizations around, and it is because they know what their why is (“Think Different”) and they have focused their efforts on communicating that message with everyone, customers or not. After all, even if you don’t use Apple products, you cannot deny that they are one of the most well-known companies out there and that their products are different and unique. 

Remember, when you lose track of your why within your organization, or your products/services do not effectively communicate it, consumers will not be able to see it either. All you will be left with is what you do - which will not bring you success.

Actions to take

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