“Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek is a groundbreaking book that explores the importance of understanding and communicating the core purpose, belief, or cause that drives individuals and organizations. Sinek argues that the most successful and inspiring leaders and organizations start by identifying their “Why,” which allows them to create a strong foundation for their actions and decisions.
The book is structured around the concept of the “Golden Circle,” a model consisting of three concentric circles: Why, How, and What. The Golden Circle represents the way in which great leaders and organizations think, act, and communicate:
- Why: This is the core belief or purpose that drives an individual or organization. The “Why” is the reason for existence, going beyond just making money or offering a product. It encompasses the deeper motivation and values that inspire and guide all actions.
- How: The “How” represents the methods, strategies, and processes that an organization or individual employs to bring their “Why” to life. These are the unique differentiators that set the organization apart from its competitors and create a clear path to achieving the “Why.”
- What: The “What” refers to the tangible products, services, or outcomes that an organization or individual offers. This is the most visible and easily understood aspect of the Golden Circle, but it is only truly meaningful and inspiring when connected to a clear “Why.”
Sinek emphasizes that most organizations and leaders focus primarily on the “What” and “How,” neglecting the more fundamental question of “Why.” By starting with “Why,” however, leaders can inspire trust, loyalty, and commitment from their employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
To illustrate the power of the “Why,” Sinek draws on numerous real-life examples and case studies from various industries, including Apple, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Wright Brothers. These leaders and organizations succeeded by maintaining a clear focus on their “Why,” which allowed them to inspire and motivate others to join their cause or support their vision.
“Start with Why” also delves into the biology of decision-making, exploring how the human brain processes information and makes choices. Sinek explains that our brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for emotions and decision-making, is strongly influenced by our “Why.” By tapping into the emotional drivers that underpin decision-making, leaders can inspire action and create lasting change.
Sinek presents a step-by-step guide for individuals and organizations to discover their “Why,” which includes reflecting on past experiences, identifying patterns, and articulating the core purpose that drives their actions. Once the “Why” is identified, leaders can work on aligning their “How” and “What” to create a coherent and inspiring message.
In summary, “Start with Why” is a transformative book that challenges the conventional wisdom of focusing on products, services, or profits. Instead, it encourages leaders and organizations to discover and communicate their core purpose, belief, or cause. By starting with “Why,” individuals and organizations can inspire trust, loyalty, and commitment from others, enabling them to achieve greater success and make a lasting impact in the world.
About the Author
Simon Sinek is a self-professed optimist determined to create a better and brighter future for humanity. An influential speaker and coach, Sinek has helped organizations around the world, like Microsoft, American Express, the United Nations, and the Pentagon, inspire their employees. He is also the author of Leaders Eat Last and Together is Better.