Leadership to Action


Great TED talk by Simon Sinek on purpose-based leadership.

Simon talks about using the golden circle, namely communicating in this order:
communicate first the WHY: the mission, our beliefs (e.g. Apple: we challenge the status quo)
then the HOW: how we do it, the unique selling proposition (e.g. Apple: we challenge the status quo by designing beautiful products)
only talk about now the WHAT: what we do (e.g. Apple: we happen to make computers, wanna buy one?)
People don’t buy what I do (or they could buy as well from my competitors), they buy WHY I do it! What I do simply works as the proof of what I believe.

The goal is to do business (with costumers and also employees) with people who believe what I believe (the why)! Not to do business with people who need what I have (my products, a job)…

Simon thinks this is determined also by how our brain is structured:

  • what: neo-cortex brain, logic, language (facts & figures, benefits)
  • how+why: limbic brain, feelings (loyalty, trust), decision making, behavior… (the limbic brain has no capacity for language, hence the benefits of the WHAT don’t drive behavior!)

You must talk with the why and the how to the limbic brain, that then goes out to the neo-cortex to rationalize behavior!

It hence becomes clear that “making money” is not a why, but a result, it’s a WHAT!

If you talk about what you believe, you’ll attract people who believe what you believe!
Why is it important to talk about it? For the bell curve! Innovators + early adopters (whose tipping point is at 15-18% of market penetration). They care about the WHY! The early+late majority only care about the WHAT and buy only if someone who they trust (the early adopters) already bought it.

So Simon suggests that communicating like this: “if you ARE the kind of person that …………., I have the product for you!” is much more effective that saying “I sell …….”
And people will show up, not for you, but for themselves!! For what they believe! In fact, Marthin Luther King said “I have a dream…” not “I have a plan…” 🙂

Leaders (authority) and those who lead (inspiration through aspiration) are two different kind of people: and we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to, not for them, but for ourselves.

What’s your favorite leadership talk?

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