It’s been years since I’ve taken the time to read books, but in 2017 I decided to start reading the many publications that I had gathered on the bookshelf. The timing was right when I took a trip to Cebu, The Philippines. A couple of long plane trips, a good few hours in transit, and a desire to get stuck into these books got me going. I packed a few too many, and it wasn’t until my return journey that I picked up Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why”. Before boarding my flight to Hong Kong from Cebu, on my way home to New Zealand, I had read most of it.
Here are my thoughts (don’t worry, it’s just a 1 or 2-minute read):
Should you read this book? Yes.
Will it take long? No.
Any problems with this book? Yes, it’s a tad repetitive. He uses the same examples over and over again - Simon, we get the point!
Can you skim/speed-read it? Yes.
Key take away: The golden circle. Check out the <15-minute highlight reel here.
What it’s all about?
First, Simon talks about where we use all kinds of incentives but fail to hit the mark. We all think we know why we do what we do, but we actually don’t, and carrots and sticks don’t work. Simon then introduces the concept of the golden circle, which is based on biology, not psychology. He talks about how the different parts of the human brain affect our intrinsic motivation. How this concept applies in personal and business life and once you crack it, it will bring clarity to your life.
Simon explains how knowing your “Why” makes your job as a leader easier. You naturally attract those with similar values and that makes motivating people easier. Then he talks about how “Why” applies to marketing. He explains why Apple was more successful than all its competitors during the early 2000s in the development and sales of the iPod. Microsoft created the Zune and Dell created the whatever-it-was-called. Both were commercial failures. But the iPod caught the hearts and minds of people, even though it was still just an mp3 player.
The biggest challenge is success, and Simon talks about how changes in leadership can cause all kinds of issues. He explores how tenure of the founder(s) and the transition of management can be a challenge for businesses, its culture and the impact on both customers and staff.
Eventually, he explores how to discover your “Why” and where it comes from, and he explores Apple again through examples of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. How “What” and “Why” can work together along with the success of Apple, due to its “Why”. By this stage, the examples are well overused, but you’ll have to forgive Simon because at the time of writing (2009-2011) his pool for finding examples was relatively small.
Where to from here?
Simon Sinek’s point is that once you find your “Why”, others will follow. You’ll be passionate again about what you do, and others will want to come along for the journey. There are many other factors in business that drive success, this is just one, but it sure is helpful for growing a business!
If you not happy in your working life and feel like your job or the effort you put into your business is a waste of time, or that you'd be happier elsewhere, you’re certainly not alone.
A few years ago, research by employment website seek.co.nz revealed that no less than forty per cent of the New Zealand workforce, or about 920,000 people, were unhappy in their jobs. It also showed that a whopping 70 per cent of workers surveyed would be open to trying different things to improve their work-life happiness. Those are serious numbers!
It’s frustrating to live your life like this, day in and day out, but what should you do about it? Quit, change direction, tough it out and try to improve your situation? Just put up with it for now and work half-baked so you can put your energy into finding something better? What to do?
Since reading Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why and watching the videos on his website and his TED Talk, I often talk with business owners and clients who have somehow lost their passion about finding their purpose. When you run a business, you can’t just quit. You can’t walk away from your team and your clients without a decent succession plan. But you can change!
Steve Jobs – and my apologies to once again refer to Apple - once said: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
When Simon Sinek hit that snag, he did something about it. He said in an interview “Eventually I was reminded of my why and slowly but surely refocused my attention to ensuring that I was living my why every day. It’s a work in progress of course, but after a business failure I was determined to change a few things, learn from my mistakes and get back on the horse as it were.”
If you, too, would like some help with finding your direction, your purpose and your “Why”, then don’t hesitate to give Bravesight a call and meet up for a coffee. We thrive on seeing our clients gain momentum and we love nothing more than seeing your business grow. It all starts with “Why” and if you like, all that can start with a friendly and obligation-free chat.
Working with businesses of all shapes and sizes, our experienced team is keen to hear from you if you want to see your business grow. If you’d like to have a talk about your purpose, your “Why”, and ways to take your business to the next level, click here to book a 30-minute coffee catch up.