This is another book summary from my friends at Coaching On Call

Start with Why – by Simon Sinek
All organisations and the individuals who work there function on three levels: What you do, How you do it and Why you do it. Everybody knows What they do. Many know How they do what they do – this may be their USP or value proposition. But, Sinek says, very few can articulate WHY they do what they do, or indeed even realise that ‘why’ exists.
Sinek argues that the superficial answer to ‘why’ – money – is not really a WHY: money is a result. By WHY, he means why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed every morning? And why should anyone care?

What’s different about how inspiring leaders and organisations communicate?
Sinek argues that there’s a naturally occurring pattern shared by the people and organizations that achieve the greatest consistent success – they all think and act and communicate in the same way; and it’s the complete opposite of what everyone else does.
Great leaders inspire people to take action. Those who inspire are not driven by WHAT they do or HOW they do it; they are driven by WHY they do it. They communicate from the inside out, starting with why (then how and what), rather than from the outside in, starting with what (then how), as most people and organisations do.

Great leaders inspire people to action
Great leaders never try to rationalise why you should or shouldn’t do something. They don’t start by telling you what to do. Great leaders all start with Why. They tell you what they believe, their purpose or their cause and then invite you to join them. We follow leaders and buy from companies that inspire us, not because we have to or because we are manipulated to do so, but because we choose to.

We follow those who inspire us— not for them, but for ourselves. And what great leaders do to inspire us is tell us why they do what they do— they always start with Why.


So how can you bring your Why to life?
Sinek identifies some key practical ways in which anybody can learn to start with Why:
  • Understand that there is a biological reason for the Why being so powerful -committed decision-making and inspiration to action is governed by the limbic brain, which controls emotion. In contrast, our response to the What is a function of the neo-cortex, or rational brain which is less potent in motivating us to action
  • Articulate your Why in terms of verbs rather than nouns – for example, when articulating values, instead of ‘integrity’ say ‘always doing the right thing’; instead of ‘innovation’ say ‘looking at the problem from a different angle’. As Sinek says, it’s hard to hold people accountable to abstract nouns!
  • Start with Why, but then be clear about the How and the What – no matter how visionary or brilliant, a great idea or product isn’t worth anything if nobody buys it. Inspire others to action by telling them why you do what you do, then align the Why with the How and the What, because, as Thomas Edison said, ‘Vision without execution is hallucination.’

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more or become more, then you are a leader.”
John Quincy Adams