Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Author- Simon Sinek
There are few questions that are of interest to each and every human being. These questions intrigue us at least once in our lifetimes, many times in general. Even though they hold such importance we still do not know the answers to them, the Why’s, the How’s, what’s. The question here is success. And over a long period of time great minds have tried to give us varying definitions of success and how to obtain it. But no matter what it still is a topic that raises passions and is something that eludes most human beings. So, why do we have this conundrum? Well, this is exactly what author Simon Sinek talks about. He explains that the answer to success is in properly defining “Why” or so to say “Why we do what we do”? What is the reason behind a man getting up every morning to go to work? He emphasizes on this and goes on to add two more questions to this, “How” and “What” to complete a Golden Circle, which is his mantra to success. Sinek in his book describes how leaders and companies should work as a series of circles, which he describes as "The Golden Circle". The first and central circle is "why," surrounded by "how," and the outermost circle is "what." The "what" describes the products or services that the company is selling; in other words, it is what they do. "How" explains how companies get to what they do or how companies achieve their goals, their implementation and "Why" is the vision, purpose, belief which underlies the how and the what. The “Why” is essentially the reason why the company exists and makes those products for us i.e. the motto of the company or “why” is it’s “why we do what we do”. Simon Sinek's book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, is not the key to success but instead gives us the answers we seek which when implemented may very well lead to success. The idea of success though oft discussed and debated will always have room for fresh perspective and the question put forth by Sinek “Why we do what we do” is not necessarily the first time someone put forth that question. But it is the ideas that go along with it, the explanation with regards to the workings of the human brain make his assertions solid. His comparison of the human brain to the golden circle attracts immediate attention to the theory he proposes; it seems to validate his thesis for success. According to Sinek, the human brain has an outer neocortex section, which corresponds to language and speech etc. and is responsible for analyzing information and data in large amounts. He corresponds this with the “What” of the golden circle, the outermost circle. The “What” with respect to a business corresponds to all the products features and enhancements it sells. It could mean high definition camera, LCD touch screen, high power processors etc. for a new line of cell phones or it could mean a brand new car which has alloy wheels, auto-traction, state-of-the-art music system etc. All of the data which form the “What” however extensive gets registered in our brain’s neocortex section and can interest us. But the limbic part of the brain is where the emotions and feelings are. This is where the decisions are made and it does not understand language or speech. So, the “What” is registered in the wrong part of the brain. The emotion corresponding to the “What” is the interest in the product, but this is not enough to convince us, to inspire us to make us decide that we want to buy the product. These are instead logged in the limbic brain, which corresponds to the how and mainly the why of the golden circle. The author goes on to gives various examples to substantiate the claim that advertisements would be worthwhile if they would pander to the “Why” question instead of “What” thereby inspiring the customers about the product and enabling them to buy the product. He says if Apple were to advertise as quoted below from the...
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