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Start With Why by Simon Sinek

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Andrew Hutton

on 4 December 2014

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Transcript of Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Book Title: Start With Why
Author: Simon Sinek
Published in 2009
For Those Who Don't Know him,
Sinek was known commonly as a visionary with a rare intellect for his work with leading companies to inspire people.

Sinek is best known for his work on TED.com especially with his popularization of the concept of Why.
Why Does Why Matter to the World
Start With Why
is a book all about one man perspective on why some businesses are more profitable, successful and innovative than others. This five part book gives in depth real world example of it's main point: the Golden Circle.

The Five Part Journey
In The Beginning
Part 1: A World That Doesn't Start With Why
Table of Contents
Part 1: A World That Doesn't Start With Why
1.1: Assume you know
1.2: Carrots and Sticks
Part 2: An Alternative Perspective
2.1: The Golden Circle
2.2: This is Not Opinion, This is Biology
2.3: Clarity, Discipline and Consistency
Part 3: Leaders Need a Following
3.1: The Emergence of Trust
3.2: How a Tipping Point Tips
Part 4: How to Rally Those Who Believe
4.1: Start With WHY, But Know HOW
4.2: Know WHY, Know HOW, Then WHAT?
4.3: Communication Is Not About Speaking, It's About Listening
Part 5: The Biggest Challenge Is Success
5.1: When WHY Goes Fuzzy
5.2: Split Happens
1.1: Assume You Know
Assumptions and why we make them are what fill this chapter. A few specific examples also dot this chapter, one of which I will read now.
1.2: Carrots and Sticks
Influence behaviour: inspire or manipulate
How do you inspire someone?
Manipulation is seen by some as loyalty - common tactic is a yearly sale (Bay Days) to get people to come in to buy with lower prices. As soon as you do it once it becomes an expectation that there will always be sales.
Inspiration comes from a clear sense of why and with inspiration comes blind loyalty, no matter how good someone’s sale is, they will always come to you because they love your brand not your price
A Very Rounded Point
Part 2: An Alternative Perspective
2.1: The Golden Circle
this is the introduction of the golden circle which truly explains the importance of starting with why from a business perspective
People don’t buy ‘what’ you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it.
The ‘why’ engages us emotionally while the ‘what’ and ‘how’ serve as the evidence of the belief.
2.2: This Is Not Opinion, This is Biology
The 3 levels of the golden circle in fact correspond to the 3 major areas of your brain
The outside of the circle What corresponds to the outside of your brain where you make decisions
The more inner parts of the golden circle corresponds to the limbic brain where we store our emotions and instincts - this inner part the WHY is connected to our instincts.
If a company’s why matches your emotions / instincts you are more motivated to buy their product
companies that fail to communicate their why force us to buy based on the What. Data / features they present make the consumer take a longer time to decide to buy
2.3: Clarity, Discipline And Consistency
Clarity of WHY – If a leader can’t clearly explain why the organisation does what it does, how can anyone be inspired by this. The why must be clearly articulated.
Discipline of HOW – Finding your why is the easy part. Holding yourself true to this and sticking to how you achieve your why is the hard part. It requires discipline.
Consistency of WHAT – Why is just a belief. The how is how you achieve the belief and what you say and do is the proof of your belief. If you are consistent with what you say and do, you will become more authentic. This builds trust and loyalty. If you have no why, it’s almost impossible to build this authenticity, as you have no beliefs to prove.
Leading Toward The End
Part 3: Leaders Need A Following
3.1: The Emergence Of Trust
Continental Airlines - CEO built walls around himself and did not create an environment of trust. no employees had any access to the leadership of the company.
In a book Worst to First, the new CEO came in and knocked down all the walls, opened his door and walked among the team to meet everyone.
Goal was to reduce the plane turnaround time = more planes in the air
Accomplish the goals as a team = everyone achieves to get the bonus
3.2: How A Tipping Point Tips
“According to the Law of Diffusion, mass-market success can only be achieved after you penetrate between 15 percent to 18 percent of the market. That’s because the early majority won’t try something new until someone else has tried it first.”
“The ability to get the system to tip is the point at which the growth of a business or the spreading of an idea starts to move at an extraordinary pace. It is also at this point that a product gains mass-market acceptance.”
Great ideas don’t always mean success
Rallying The Troops
Part 4: How to Rally Those Who Believe
4.1: Start with Why - But Know How
The Golden Circle is actually a birds eye view of a cone which represents the three-dimensional structure of organizations.
“The leader sits at the top of the cone—at the start, the point of WHY—while the HOW-types sit below and are responsible for actually making things happen. The leader imagines the destination and the HOW-types find the route to get there.”
WHY-types are optimists and see things others can’t. They are visionary and see how they think the world should be. HOW-types are more in the here and now. They’re more rational and can get things done. Each type needs the other.
When you look at any billion dollar company, it is usually characterized by a partnership between a Why and How type person.
4.2: Know Why, Know How Then What
The Golden Circle Cone also relates to a megaphone that communicates a company's message
The WHY is the speaker, the HOW is the amplifier and the WHAT is what translates the message to the world
When inconsistencies in messaging happen then the WHY is lost and the megaphone loses it's volume
4.3: Communication Is Not About Speaking, It's Listening
“If WHAT you do doesn’t prove what you believe, then no one will know what your WHY is and you’ll be forced to compete on price, service, quality, features and benefits; the stuff of commodities”
“It is not just WHAT or HOW you do things that matters; what matters more is that WHAT and HOW you do things is consistent with your WHY. Only then will your practices indeed be best”
If your company has a mixture of products that are not aligned then consumers get confused and they buy based on your price alone
Succeeding At Succeeding
Part 5: The Biggest Challenge Is Success
5.1: When Why Goes Fuzzy
Simon recalls attending the Gathering of Titans where america’s most successful entrepreneurs gather together. 80% has achieved their financial goals! although 80% didn’t feel successful. As their companies had grown, they had lost a sense of their why. They still knew what they did and how they did it, but their why had gone fuzzy. And of course, this was difficult to put in to words.
“Achievement is something you reach or attain, like a goal. It is something tangible, clearly defined and measurable. Success, in contrast, is a feeling or a state of being. “She feels successful. She is successful,” we say, using the verb to be to suggest this state of being”. “In my vernacular, achievement comes when you pursue and attain WHAT you want. Success comes when you are clear in pursuit of WHY you want it.”
“More importantly, some people, while in pursuit of success, simply mistake WHAT they achieve as the final destination. This is the reason they never feel satisfied no matter how big their yacht is, no matter how much they achieve.”
“For great leaders, The Golden Circle is in balance. They are in pursuit of WHY, they hold themselves accountable to HOW they do it and WHAT they do serves as the tangible proof of what they believe.”
5.2: Split Happens
For all organisations that go through the split, they are no longer inspired by a cause greater than themselves. They simply come to work, manage systems and work to reach certain preset goals. There is no longer a cathedral to build. The passion is gone and inspiration is at a minimum. They are focused too much on the how and what.
My Review
Full transcript