Framing the Dialogue

Start With Why

“Leaders don’t have all the great ideas; they provide support for those who want to contribute.  Leaders achieve very little by themselves; the inspire people to come together for the good of the group.  Leaders never start with what needs to be done.  Leaders start with WHY we need to do things.  Leaders inspire action.”

Start with Why is a thought provoking book by author Simon Sinek.  He expresses an interesting concept that is the foundation of success…well continued success anyway.  He focuses on the golden circle where the “WHY” is the center or foundation of leadership and success.  A frequent example used by Mr. Sinek is Apple.  If you’ve ever read about the founders of Apple Computers (they’re no longer identify themselves that way), the two Steves didn’t start out to take on IBM.  Their commitment was to build a product for everyone.  They wanted function and style for their customers.  Their cause or their “WHY” was and still seems to be improved design and products for people.  Unless you live in the mountains, you can see how Apple customers starve for the next iPhone product.  Apple customers see their WHY and are committed to it and spend their money on it.  Look at some of Apple’s innovations like the iPod, iPhone, MAC, and iTunes.  iTunes didn’t start the digital music trend, but who can argue that they didn’t revolutionize it and capture the market.  Apple makes a lot of profits, but they never fully lose the why of their founders.

Companies, Sinek notes, that work from their WHAT and ignore their WHY lack a foundation.  To market their WHAT all they can rely on is incremental improvements or lowering prices.  Speaking from my experience iTunes is a pain in the nether regions, especially for a guy who uses a PC.  I’ve had many different cell phones, but now that I’ve been using an iPhone, I doubt that I would ever switch.  They are more than a phone…my iPhone 7 Plus feels good in my hand.  The camera is amazing and I now use it more than my PC.

I loved the message in this book.  It made me look at how I fit in my organization and how I might tweak my leadership style.  I work with a great group of people who are dedicated to our WHY even when the higher levels of “leadership” doesn’t seem to share the same foundation.  I have often remarked about how we maintain not only sanity, but a good sense of humor during very stressful and thankless times.  We know our WHY.


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