Why Start with Why?
August 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why is a quick and powerful read. He does an excellent job of balancing philosophy with practicality. This is important in any non-fiction book that attempts to tackle human interactions, but even more so with a book aimed primarily at businesses. Yes, the business community is Mr. Sinek’s main audience, but I found nearly all of his concepts applicable to any organization because he focuses on the people involved more so than any other concept.
Of the many concepts the book discusses, the one that I have been most drawn to is his concept of the Golden Circle. This concept places WHY at the core of three circles. WHY is our core, our beliefs according to Sinek. Then middle ring is HOW. HOW is the actions we take in order to make our WHY a reality. The outer circle is WHAT. WHAT is the products of our HOW which is created from the core WHY that drives us. Sinek explains that most leaders and companies operate from the outside in, beginning with their WHAT, then discussing their HOW, and if they even understand it maybe they touch on their WHY. This is backwards to what great leaders and companies do. The greats start with a belief, they find others who share that belief, they then create processes that help that belief come to life, and the result is a product tangible or intangible that is proof of the original belief. People are drawn to beliefs that align with their own world view, which is why leaders who start with WHY can motivate masses of people without even meeting them.
What I like about the Golden Circle is twofold: it is grounded in biology and it anthropologically reflects society. This anthropological approach decreases some of the culture biases proliferating many innovative ideas today. We easily become our-own-culture-centric and often ignore the biases our culture has instilled in us. Because this concept is set upon something biologically and anthropologically universal as core beliefs, it allows the application of the ideas to be seemingly endless. That versatility and utility is very attractive to me.
Simon Sinek has a great TEDTalk on the basics of this concept. I encourage you all to check it out as well as the book.