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Star With Why

1: Assume You Know

The first chapter of “Start with Why” dives into the assumptions we make and the impact they have on our actions. Sinek gives examples of scenarios where looking at the bigger picture can shape your behavior towards driving long-term results. Take the classic example of American car manufacturers versus the Japanese. In American car factories, workers on the assembly line apply final fixes on doors using a rubber mallet, whereas in Japan the doors are engineered to fit perfectly from the start.  

This is also a metaphor for leadership. There are two types of leaders: those who decide to manipulate to get to the end result, and those who start with the end result in mind and let everything else naturally fall into place.

2: The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is a concept described by Simon, it shows how certain leaders have the ability to inspire action rather than simply manipulating people to act. The core of Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” is his discovery of The Golden Circle. There are three parts of The Golden Circle: Why, How, and What.

Why: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate why they do what they do. This isn’t about running a profitable company—that’s a result. Why is all about your purpose. Why does your company exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

How: Some people and companies know how they do what they do. Whether you call them a ‘’differentiating value proposition’’ or a ‘’unique selling proposition,’’ HOWs are often given to explain how something is different or better.

What: Every single company on the planet knows what they do. This is true no matter how big or small the company is, or no matter what industry they belong to. Everyone can easily describe the products or services their company sells or the job function they have within the company.

When we start with “Why”, we go from the inside out of the circle. “Why” is the reason to buy and the “Whats” merely represent the tangible products as a proof of that belief. “Whats” are the reasons we can point to rationalize why we so much like a company over another.


3: The Emergency Of Trust

Trust begins to emerge when we see that people and organizations are driven by reasons that go beyond the self-serving. Aligning Why, How and What is a way to build that trust.

 “What” and differentiation

Companies that act like commodity producers have a constant challenge to differentiate themselves from the competition. Chasing the competition, trying to match them feature-for-feature only deepens the “What” culture.

Because consumers are inspired by “Why” you do what you do, companies that begin communicating with the “Why” have a greater flexibility in the market. Take the example of Apple and Dell. Apple makes computers. Apple also makes iPads and iPhones.


4: Start With Why But Know How

Energy motivates but charisma inspires. Energy is easy to see, measure and copy. All great leaders have charisma because all great leaders have clarity of “Why”

Sinek cites the example of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Steve Ballmer was energetic. Bill Gates, in spite of being shy and awkward, is charismatic. When Steve Ballmer speaks people are energized, but that tends to dissipate quickly. When Bill Gates speaks people listen with bated breath. They remember those lessons for weeks, months or even years. Charisma commands loyalty while energy doesn’t.

 “Why” and “How” Types – Behind every “Why” type of leader, is a “How” type of leader who brings the “Why” to life.


5: know why. Know how. Then what?

When a company is small, a founder has plenty of direct contact with the outside world. As it grows the leader’s role changes. The “Why” exists in the part of the brain that control feelings and decision making but not language. “Whats” exist in the part of the brain that controls rational thought and language.

6: The Origin Of A Why

You’ve probably heard that before you start a business, market research is key. You do your market research, know your customer and then build your niche. Sinek, however, disagrees. According to Sinek, the “Why” does not come from looking ahead at what you want to achieve and then figuring out an appropriate strategy to get there. It is not born out of market research or for that matter even extensive interviews with customers or employees. It comes from looking in the completely opposite direction from where you are right now. Finding the “Why” is a process of discovery, not invention. The “Why” is within you. And once you find and know your “Why”, the hardest part is to remain true to it.

7: The New Competition

When you’re up against the world, competing with everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.

What if we showed up to work every single day to be better than ourselves?  All organizations start with “Why”, but only the great ones keep their “Why” clear year after year. Those who forget “Why” they were founded show up to the race every day to outdo someone else instead of outdoing themselves.

You are your best competition.

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