Leaders INSPIRE action, not WHAT you do, but WHY you do it

In business, motivation by Michael Michelini3 Comments

Another great shared article and website, ted.com -which is a leadership and motivational website, sent to me from Terry Obershaw at SKU Touch again has got me excited – I am loving how more people are submitting articles, excerpts, and poems for me to add to the blog. Giving this blog a purpose!

So Terry sent this specific video- How Great Leaders Inspire Action – that I highly recommend watching

About this talk – How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers — and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.

About Simon Sinek

In 2009, Simon Sinek released the book “Start With Why” — a synopsis of the theory he has begun using to teach others how to become effective leaders and inspire change. Full bio and more links

after watching myself, I will try my best to summarize and reflect below:

how great leaders inspire action

Its not NOT WHAT a company does, but WHY we are doing it. Apple isn’t a company selling consumer electronics, they are SELLING THE NEWEST INNOVATION in today’s era. It is the “Aura”, the meaning. They are on the same level as their consumers, they share a common belief of providing the world with the newest innovations. not just selling products. Connecting the company’s beliefs to the beliefs of its customers.

Then he goes on to draw what he calls the “golden circle” (my attempt to draw it is to the left)
Its a rather simple concept, but has big meaning, the Golden circle encompasses 3 things:
what, how, why:

People, or companies, they know:

1) what they do – make products, service people, etc etc. This is basic and everyone should know it.
2) How they do it – this may be more of a company or personal secret, the specific technique, system, techonology that they use to get the job done.
3) why they do it – and that is NOT TO MAKE A PROFIT, but does the person, employee, CEO, investor, do they know WHY they exist, what is the purpose of existence. Not just to make money, to pay the bills, to buy a house – but there has to be something bigger, bigger them themselves behind it.

It really makes me think…and how to align that…..how to stop PUSHING customers to buy from me, how to stop SLAVEDRIVING workers to work for me. Everyone in the organization has to buy into the WHY the company exists

  • what is your purpose
  • why does your company exist
  • why should anyone care

And I like this that Simon says – People dont buy what you do, they buy WHY YOU DO IT. Your customer, your staff, your investor, THEIR BELIEFS HAVE TO BE ALIGNED WITH YOURS. Goals, passions, long term ideals.

Hire people who believe in what you believe. People will fight with you

If its MONEY….then you can work anywhere, for any purpose
If its for PURPOSE….then hopefully you can find an organization, or setup an organization that aims to achieve that purpose.

Then Simon goes on to discuss the law of diffusion of innovation – that most people will not try something unless someone else already has – except innovators, early adopters. This is about 10% of the market, those who buy the new iPhone as soon as its in the market, and writes reviews about it for others to gauge if they should be it or now.

HOW TO BRIDGE THE DIVIDE, to get the next set of mainstream people to buy into what you have created, or begun. and that is the WHY, that is the BELIEF!

Again, said another way – people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it

People say, to reach success, one needs:

  1. money
  2. right people
  3. right market conditions

But it is PASSION. And not giving up. not giving in……

And finally, Simon wraps up by differentiating LEADERS from “Those who lead”:

* leaders – hold power, and are able to tell people what to do.

* those who lead – inspire us to work towards the same goal the leader is in charge of.
we follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to.

Of course one can be both a leader and “a person who leads”, but often times they are disconnected. How to INSPIRE PEOPLE.

I think first we need to define WHY we do what we do…..

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  2. I wouldn’t try this conversation with any of the small Chinese business owners I know – I could do without the “deer in the headlights” look and the scoffs I’d get out of 90% of them.

    What’s your why btw? That I would really like to know

    Cheers for getting on TED – told you it was good stuff!

    1. Author

      yea, i should have put my WHY there…

      but its kind of always been about INTERNATIONAL ECOMMERCE – flattening the world….making it easier to buy from all over the world, thus the loadpipe “pipe dream” thats been in development since 2007

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