Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek

Why is it that some companies are able to better perform than others? To leadership and management consultant Simon Sinek, it all starts with the simple question of WHY. He argues that the reason why certain businesses thrive and others are just hanging on to survive is that the thriving businesses have clearly defined their WHY and operate congruently with it. In addition, he argues that the reason certain businesses aren’t doing so well is because they are only focused on what and how their products/services work but leave out the WHY. Here are some points from the book:


1. We buy products from certain brands because of their ability to communicate their WHY better than those who aren’t. It’s worth repeating: people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. Apple’s ability to design such innovative products so consistently and their ability to command such astounding loyalty for their products comes from more than simply WHAT they do. The problem is, organizations use the tangible features and benefits to build a rational argument for why their company, product or idea is better than another. Sometimes those comparisons are made outright and sometimes analogies or metaphors are drawn, but the effect is the same. Companies try to sell us WHAT they do, but we buy WHY they do it. This is what I mean when I say they communicate from the outside in; they lead with WHAT and HOW.


2. For those of you who have a business, make sure that you are clear in you WHY and then make sure your execution is congruent with it. It all starts with clarity. You have to know WHY you do WHAT you do. If people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it, so it follows that if you don’t know WHY you do WHAT you do, how will anyone else? If the leader of the organization can’t clearly articulate WHY the organization exists in terms beyond its products or services, then how does he expect the employees to know WHY to come to work? If a politician can’t articulate WHY she seeks public office beyond the standard ‘to serve the people’ (the minimum rational standard for all politicians), then how will the voters know whom to follow?”


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3. Companies with a clearly defined WHY are better able to motivate their employees through their mission. Companies with a strong sense of WHY are able to inspire their employees. Those employees are more productive and innovative, and the feeling they bring to work attracts other people eager to work there as well. It’s not such a stretch to see why the companies that we love to do business with are also the best employers. When people inside the company know WHY they come to work, people outside the company are vastly more likely to understand WHY the company is special. In these organizations, from the management on down, no one sees themselves as any more or any less than anyone else. They all need each other.


4. Success is meaningless without a purpose (or a WHY). Doing something with no real driving force behind it leads to emptiness. Find your WHY and it’ll lead you to fulfilled success. Many people who achieve great success don’t always feel it. Some who achieve fame talk about the loneliness that often goes with it. That’s because success and achievement are not the same thing, yet too often we mistake one for the other. Achievement is something you reach or attain, like a goal. It is something tangible, clearly defined and measurable. Success, in contrast, is a feeling or a state of being. ‘She feels successful. She is successful,’ we say, using the verb to be to suggest this state of being. While we can easily lay down a path to reach a goal, laying down a path to reach that intangible feeling of success is more elusive. In my vernacular, achievement comes when you pursue and attain WHAT you want/ Success comes when you are clear in pursuit of WHY you want it. The former is motivated by tangible factors while the latter by something deeper in the brain, where we lack the capacity to put those feelings into words.

By Ryan Lee

My rating:
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Check out the book here:
Amazon USA
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK


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1 Comment

  1. […] who are just as committed to the growth and development of the company as you are. In the book Start With Why by Simon Sinek, he demonstrates that having a strong purpose to getting something done is a more […]


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