Thanks to a friend, I recently rediscovered Simon Sinek’s talk How great leaders inspire action. Sinek explains a pattern inspiring leaders and organizations follow when communicating ideas, which he calls the golden circle. Great leaders don’t talk about what they are doing, but about why they do it.
Why? How? What? This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t. (…) Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiated value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP. But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by “why” I don’t mean “to make a profit.” That’s a result. It’s always a result. By “why,” I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care? Well, as a result, the way we think, the way we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in. It’s obvious. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and the inspired organizations – regardless of their size, regardless of their industry – all think, act and communicate from the inside out.
It is important to know what motivates1 you –why you do things– not only because it is a great way to communicate and inspire. Knowing why we do things affects profoundly how we do them and what things we do and don’t do.
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- Why you do things is sometimes called external mission in organizations. ↩