Start with Why by Simon Sinek proves why there are some people/organizations are so successful, and many are not. After reading this book, I can differentiate leaders vs. leader-likes. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this book inspired me to create this blog site.
Why should you read the book?
Creative Media, a Singaporean company, first introduced pocket MP3 players. The quality of their product was excellent. Creative packed it with a fantastic 5GB storage in it. Still, nobody bought their product. But years after that happened, apple introduced iPods. Lots of people bought iPods and fall in love with that. Because, instead of saying you have 5GB storage, Apple said, 1000 songs in your pocket. Apple told the WHY.
We always communicate what we do. But only by saying WHY we do, what we do, can we inspire others to follow us. Often, not realizing this communication error, we manipulate our followers like reducing the price to boost up sales. These are short term illusions and almost always end up catastrophic.
This book is all about the right way to inspire people. According to Simon Sinek when you do the right thing, people get inspired and follow your lead. They even accept a higher price for your product or service or happily accept some inconvenience in receiving them.
Key takeaways of “Start with Why”
Inspire, don’t manipulate
We have social media, and there are about a gazillion pages, including ours. But gathering 1000 followers is a challenging task for many many of them. But in 1969, where social media did not exist even in dreams, about a quarter-million people gathered to listen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr speaking. How was it possible for Dr. King. What was Dr.King’s secret to inspiring people?
Because Dr.King’s speech was, “I have a dream.” All who came on that day had the same dream. They came for themselves, and for the future, they and Dr.King all envisioned. They were standing under sunlight for hours, accepting the inconvenience. It wouldn’t be the case if it were an “I have a Plan” speech.
Today, whichever part of the world you are living in, there is shreds of evidence of how politicians manipulate voters. Many fail in that, and some succeed. But who inspires?
Here are a few other ways to manipulate given by Simon Sinek:
- Reducing price to commit sales
- Giving promotions to buy more of your product
- Using aspiration like a movie star for a toothpaste ad
- Tricking with peer pressure.
- Using fear
- Innovation: Yes, that’s correct. If you can’t say why you invented, that’s manipulation.
The inside out approach.
When we describe something, naturally, most people start with “What.” Most of their effort is gone to explain this. Every phone company in the world is busy explaining their features, wouldn’t you agree? But not Apple.
Maybe later, we also explain how we do that. That is only if the listener finds the WHAT part fascinating and if time permits. And often, we don’t even tell the listener why you should listen.
But when you listen to somebody, the first thing in your mind is that “WHY should I listen to him?” Wouldn’t you agree again?
This is why inspiring leaders start with WHY? Now you are curious to listen (If it’s interesting to you).
The fact that we should start with WHY is not just an idea; it’s a biological phenomenon. Here’s what Simon Sinek
The part of the brain that deals with languages are known as the “Neocortex Brain.” This is what handles all the “WHAT” and”HOW” queries of our daily life. But, have you ever noticed such sophisticated levels of languages and tricks in animals? It’s a homo-sapiens thing and very specific to us.
But unfortunately, this Neocortex brain is the last and very recent development in our evolution. The part of the brain that deals with “WHY” is known as the “Limbic Brain.” This is common for all animals and a compelling one. It evolved through thousands of million years.
Thoughts after reading “Start with Why”
Let’s come back to the question at the beginning of this article. Why do you think the three ducks follow the leader duck. Do you think the leader duck manipulated the other? Did it reduce prices for its pathfinding service or promoted with one-to-one offers? Is there any peer pressure? But then, why?
The leader duck believes the other side would be fantastic. The follower ducks also believe in the idea of the leader duck. They follow the leader for themselves. All because, WHY they swim is a common belief. Ducks don’t have a neocortex brain. But they don’t need one to inspire others.
You don’t have to be rich, skilled, or intelligent to inspire others. All you have to do is start with why.
If you like this article you’d also like Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last