Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Start with Why

RATING: 5/10…READ: July 7, 2012

This book is an extension of Simon Sinek’s TED talk. The core concept of the book is we should question WHY we do what we do. Despite a great TED talk, this book is very redundant. If you watched the TED talk, you’ll find little more added information beyond it.

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Repeat business is when people do business with you multiple times. Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or a better price to continue doing business with you. Loyal customers often don’t even bother to research the competition or entertain other options. Loyalty is not easily won. Repeat business, however is. All it takes is more manipulations.

The newest area of the brain, our Homo sapien brain, is the neocortex, which corresponds with the WHAT level. The neocortex is responsible for rational and analytical though and language. The middle two sections comprise the limbic brain. The limbic brain is responsible for all human behavior and all our decision-making, but it has no capacity for language.

“I can make a decision with 30 percent of the information,” said former secretary of state Colin Powell. “Anything more than 80 percent is too much.”

In the 1970s, only 15 percent of the traveling population traveled by air. At that rate, the market was small enough to scare off would be competitors to the big airlines. But Southwest wasn’t interested in competing against everyone else for 15 percent of the traveling population. Southwest care about the other 85 percent. Back then, if you asked Southwest whom their competitor was, they would have told you, “We compete against the car and bus.”

Shackleton was looking for a crew that belonged on such an expedition. His actual ad ran like this: “Men wanted for Hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”

Lori Robinson’s a great leader because she understands that earning the trust of an organization doesn’t come from setting out to impress everyone, it comes from setting out to serve those who serve her.

Charisma has nothing to do with energy; it comes from a clarity of WHY. It comes from absolute conviction in an ideal bigger than oneself. Energy, in contrast, comes from a good night’s sleep or lots of caffeine. Energy can excite. But only charisma can inspire. Charisma commands loyalty. Energy does not.

A symbol cannot have any deep meaning until we know WHY it exists in terms bigger than simply to identify the company. Without clarity of WHY, a logo is just a logo.

With about $400 billion in annual sales, Wal-Mart still sells more than six times as much as Target each year.

Here was a room full of some of America’s brightest entrepreneurs, many of them multimillionaires, some of whom don’t need to work anymore if they don’t want to, yet most of them still didn’t feel like they have succeeded. In fact, many of them reported that they’d lost something since they started their businesses. They reminisced about the days when they didn’t have any money and were working out of their basements, trying to get things going. They longed for the feeling they used to have.

Achievement is something you reach or attain, like a goal. It is something tangible, clearly defined and measurable. Success, in contrast, is a feeling or a stare of being…Achievement comes when you pursue and attain WHAT you want. Success comes when you are in clear pursuit of WHY you want it.

SCHOOL BUS TEST: If a founder or leader of an organization were to be hit by a school bus, would the organization continue to thrive at the same pace without them at the helm?

Simply by measuring the number of goods sold or the money brought in is no indication of value. Value is a feeling, not a calculation. It is perception. One could argue that a product with more bells and whistles that sells for less is the greater value. But by whose standard?

We’re always comparing ourselves to others. And no one wants to help us. What if we showed up to work every day simply to be better than ourselves? What if the goal was to do better work this week than we did the week before? To make this month better than the last month? For no other reason than because we want to leave the organization in a better state than we found it.

All leaders must have two things: they must have a vision of the world that does not exist and they must have the ability to communicate it.