Book Review - Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

The Founder of Inspire Leadership & focuses on unlocking people’s potential by providing them with programs; mentorship and coaching into high performance

By Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek’s book- Start with WHY is a must-read for anyone interested in transforming their life. The book is about our sense of purpose, whether personally or professionally, it is about how we can get to success. The “why”, followed by the “how” and the “what” as per the book are the three steps to achieving personal satisfaction, as well as being a great leader and growing a successful career or a company. The book provides two ways through which human behavior is influenced, that is manipulation and inspiration. Sinek argues that inspiration is the most powerful and sustainable of the two and he provides very realistic examples throughout the book.

Simon provides us with a useful framework; the Golden Circle. At the center of this Golden Circle is WHY, the next concentric circle is HOW and finally, the outermost circle is WHAT. In other words, he is advising us that in any situation we should always start with a why.

WHY is to address the interest that is making us do that which we are doing; next is to figure out HOW; that is how to do it; and finally, it is about WHAT, that is the results. As an example, matching to the Golden Circle framework, my why is to better the livelihoods of others by unlocking their potential.

I have to start with this WHY to give my followers and clients a way to identify with me on a personal level. If this WHY matches their WHY, then they are willing to stand with me through thick and thin. Without a clear WHY, I will for sure default to the WHAT.

Then I will always be caught in this struggle to differentiate myself in the sea of WHAT. There is a need to ensure that the WHY, HOW, and WHAT are in harmony. This will enable you to gain some level of trust.

Trust is the key driver to personal satisfaction and especially when that trust is built with your followers. To do this you will need to be authentic. This means that your HOW (actions) and WHAT (results) have to be consistent with your WHY (beliefs).

They all need to work together in harmony. To create harmony between WHY, HOW, and WHAT, Simon insists that you need: Clarity of WHY Discipline of HOW Consistency of WHAT Key takeaways from the book are:

1. Finding Your Why is the best discovery

A good sign to show me that I have not found my WHY is not laughing at the idea of loving my work, meaning I have not found work that excites me, motivates me or that I believe in. Do you love your job irrespective of the amount you are earning? If yes, your WHY is in the vicinity.

2. I need to be clear about my Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is made up of 3 concentric circles with WHY in the center, HOW in the next circle, and WHAT in the outermost circle. 'WHAT' is self-explanatory, detailing what I will do…How describes how the WHAT is to be achieved and the WHY describes the mission, purpose or goal of my life. There is a need to ensure that all these are crystal clear for us to be able to progress and become successful.

3. Motivation is the key driver and not manipulation

If we start every decision-making process by understanding our WHY, we will eventually end up being successful. We need to have inspirations as this is the best way to action as opposed to manipulation which has been used as a way of getting results from people and even from ourselves. If we are inspired, we will go the extra mile without being prompted because we know what we are working towards. Inspirational is from the inside… This is a key realization.

4. We need a dream but have a plan

A dream without an action plan is just an illusion. We will need to have the HOW planned out to achieve our WHY. Unfortunately, many of us are still stuck in dreams and we need action plans.

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