Start With Why is a simple yet profound book based on Simon Sinek’s theory of leadership. Sinek shows how companies like Apple, Walmart, Southwest Airlines and Microsoft and individuals like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Martin Luther King inspire leadership by starting with ‘Why’ they do what they do rather than ‘What’ they do or ‘How’ they do it.
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Start Why With: How Greater Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action is a remarkable yet simple book.
Sinek illustrates his theory of leadership with a Golden Circle of What, How and Why which roughly corresponds to regions of the human brain.
The argument is simple, most of us can articulate What we do, some of us know How we do it but few of us can tell a message of Why we do it.
By flipping this around and starting with Why, Sinek shows how we can lead and inspire others more effectively, based on an overlapping neurology in the human brain
Simon Sinek is an inspired speaker. Whether you read this book or watch his TED Talk, it’s easy to feel the author’s passion for his subject.
Below are some of the key insights I took from this book:
- There are leaders and there are those who lead. Not always the same thing (e.g. General Motors market share vs. Apple market share)
- Most marketing focuses on the What and How of a product, speaking directly to the Neocortex of the brain (Thinking Slow)
- Inspired companies and people typically focus on the Why of a product, speaking to the instinctic Limbic brain (Thinking Fast)
- To achieve breakout success, we should aim for Clarity of Why, Discipline of How and Consistency of What.
- When you can do this, you build a Tribe based on bounds of trust. You build cathedrals not walls of brick.
- Companies that fail to align their Why, How and What will typically fail to move along the Adoption Curve e.g. Segway, Tivo (ref. Diffusion of Innovations)
- The Golden Circle should map directly onto a corporate heirachy. Why = Founder, How = Directors. What = Staff and Customers.
- Knowing your Why acts as a filter for advice/activity (The Celery Test)
- Companies or people that lose sight of their Why start managing decline (e.g. Apple, General Motors, Walmart, Microsoft)
- The Origin of a Why comes from the creative process and from people with opposing skill sets working towards a common goal.