Life-changing innovations, groundbreaking social movements, and timeless leaders all have one thing in common - they begin by defining their WHY. In his book “Start With Why”, Simon Sinek uncovers the answer to the age old question, how do great leaders inspire everyone to take action? By integrating foundational theories to his business and leadership philosophy, Simon Sinek answers the question by demonstrating the principles of The Golden Circle.
The Golden Circle
The author’s intended purpose for this book is to learn about what he calls The Golden Circle. How it can provide a framework for organizations to be built, movements to be led, and how people can be inspired by starting with the question WHY? The Golden Circle was inspired by the Golden Ratio, a simple mathematical relationship used by mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. Simon Sinek breaks down The Golden Circle into three distinct sections by explaining the elements from a companies perspective.
The Golden Circle Definitions
- What: the products or services a company sells or the job functions they have created within a system.
- How: the “differentiating value propositions” of an organization. Many times this is the process the company uses to supply the products or services.
- Why: the cause, belief, or purpose that drives a company or leader.
Starting From WHY
With the introduction of the iPod and iTunes, Apple is one example of a company motivated by an internal WHY. Apple revolutionized the music industry by altering the way music was made available to the public and in turn gave consumers the freedom to experience music in the way they see best. In their creation of Itunes and iPod Apple was leading from their belief that innovation should challenge the status quo and give consumers power. On a personal level, the Apple example reminds us of the importance of aligning personal beliefs with public action.
How the WHY Changes Your Game
You might be thinking, what is the benefit of defining my own personal WHY? Here are several benefits that Sinek speaks to in his book.
1. Decisions will be simpler
By defining your personal WHY, you will be aware of the driving forces in your life. In your personal and professional world, you will have a deeper understanding of how each decision aligns with your personal beliefs and motivations.
2. Loyalty will be stronger between people/companies
Starting with WHY gives individuals and companies the ability to partner with others who hold similar visions. In turn, this fosters a common bond and increases loyalty because both parties are joined by a common belief.
3. Optimism will come more naturally
We know that when we feel a sense of purpose in our work the job can feel easier or more fulfilling. Having a defined WHY will give an increased sense of purpose and drive behind everything a person does. And a clear purpose brings about increased optimism in a person's life.
4. Innovation will thrive
When working from a deeper vision, a company or person is able to reach greater levels of innovation. By creating solutions, services, or ideas that are rooted in a desire to serve a deep need and not just satisfy a revenue goal, larger levels of creativity can be realized.
Sinek states in his book, “No matter the size of the organization, no matter the industry, no matter the product or the service, if we all take some responsibility to start with WHY and inspire others to do the same, then, together, we can change the world.”