Start with Why Review

By Freelance Contributor | Strong Female Leaders | Reading Time: Approx 5 min

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Start with Why Review
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Said Simon Sinek during his popular TED Talk. This simple yet powerful concept inspires others and holds the reason why people would buy your products. The “Why” includes a belief system or the reason why you get up each morning. In Sinek’s book, Start with Why, he helps you realize and express your “why.”

Sinek’s made it clear in his book that his purpose is to inspire people to do whatever it is they love to do. He believes that products that convey their “why” will be more successful. Throughout the book, Sinek refers to great companies like Apple, thought leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Wright brothers that inspire others by their Why’s. For example, Apple’s “why” is to “challenge the status quo”; Martin Luther King, Jr “why” was to bring equality to the world; and Orville and Wilbur Wright’s “why” was to learn to fly more than doing it for fame or money.

Due to Sinek’s marketing background, the book is more geared towards marketing professionals. One example is when Sinek talks about how inspiring your audience can effectively influence human behavior, and how manipulation does the opposite. In other words: inspiration breeds loyalty while manipulation breeds mistrust. One of our favorite quotes from the book is that “over the course of time, (manipulating customers) cost more and more. The gains are only short-term.”

Sinek also implies that methods of manipulations refer to the “what” and “how,” and not the “why.” He cautions that: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Your customers and your team will be loyal only if they understand why you are offering your product, service, skill or leadership in the first place.

The book also reminds us why we must reconsider what brings meaning to our lives. Leaders of any organization must be clear of why their organizations exist, and be able to convey it to employees, stakeholders and customers. Then, the next level down, typically the senior executives who feel inspired by the leader’s “why” will plan the “how” in order to bring the leader’s vision to life. Lastly, we move to the lowest level, the “what.” This is where lower level thinking takes place to implement the strategy and interact with clients and customers.

No matter how charismatic the leader is, if his vision cannot turn into reality, all efforts will fail. Therefore, it is important for everyone in the organization, whether they are the “why,” “how,” or “what” to feel inspired to come to work each day. And for individual contributors who don’t feel like their job inspires them, they should figure out their own “why.”

When the “why” becomes unclear, organizations begin a downward spiral. Sinek uses Walmart as example, who started focusing on their bottom line rather than offering fair pricing and watching out for their customers and employees, after Sam Walton’s death. The company began to experience lawsuits for treating employees poorly.

Over all, the book brought fresh and innovative ideas that inspires readers to think more deeply about their Why’s. However, continuing to dwell on the Why isn’t the best way to structure your day. It’s great for leaders and professionals to find their way; to make their why’s a reality, however, still requires more time on strategizing and executing.

Either way, the book is worth the investment, and certainly worth the time to absorb.
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