Inspiring Leaders (and leadership)

I have seen a presentation by Simon Sinek on “Start with Why”a few times. Quite often its the most simple of models/concepts are quite literally the best…

The starting question is a simple one – why are companys like Apple so succesful when they are just another organisation with a group of employees and a product to sell – like many others. Or why did Martin Luther King attract such a follow-ship?

I am quite sure everyone has their own theories but the one according to Sinek has stuck with me because a) its very simple and b) I believe it…

The basis theory is this. There are three type of people in a significantly diminishing quantity

Those who know “What” they do – basically everyone knows this (even if it’s not very good)
Those who know “How” to do what they do – still a relatively large number of people
Those who know “Why” they do what they do i.e. their purpose, their belief, why they get of our bed in the morning and most importantly why anyone should care.  


This can be drawn as circles in circles and therefore the “why” can be considered an inside-out dimension.
This concept can be applied to Apple very simply – if they simply tried to sell mp3 players or computers or phones they would probably be as succesful as Dell/Sony/Microsoft/etc/etc.  However, what Apple do is not sell their products, what they sell is challenging the status quo and how you should go about your everyday life – it just so happens there is a product to help you do it….
I can see this – I have an iphone – I am sure functionally it is probably inferior to the latest samsung, but I don’t care, I have an iphone because it makes me feel innovative and broader minded (which of course is totally untrue but I have bought the story…)
Sinek does go on to help prove his theory through biology and various parts of the brain – this may or may not be true but the piece that came out for me was the term we all hear everyday “gut feel”. What this means is we are thinking about the “why” at that point even though we are not quite sure why – and if we try and rationalise it through a “what” it often doesn’t work. So going with that feeling is most definitely a good thing…
Of course there are many examples that can be traced back to this model. A good one I saw was in the simple people hiring area.  Using this concept, you don’t simply hire someone that needs a job and knows what to do , but someone that believes in what I believe in and carries that belief forward.
Finally: Martin Luther King “ I believe”…250000 people turned up on the right day at the right time – there were no adverts, no websites. They attended because of what they believe. Martin Luther King had I have a a dream speech rather than I have a plan speech…
So my action following this – be very sure of my “why” and make sure everyone knows it….

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