An Inspiring Discussion With Simon Sinek About Learning Your ‘Why’

  • Properly and successfully defining your “why” is an important element when defining your business.
  • You can’t do it alone. So don’t pretend you can. Life changes for the better when we realize that we don’t have to know everything, and we don’t have to pretend we do. This is the reason for teams. It’s not simply about capacity; it’s about our diversity — diversity of ideas and diversity of strengths. As individuals, we are just ok. But, together we are remarkable. When we work together, we can accomplish anything.
  • When we provide people with a reason to come to work that they care about, they will give us their blood, sweat and tears. They will give us their discretionary effort and their passion and their best work, not because they have to, but because they want to. When we give people a reason to come to work, people will come together and put their egos aside to find ways to bring our shared vision to life. When we give people a reason to come to work, they will love their job.
  • Connecting on an emotional level with our customers and prospects is what breeds loyalty. There is a distinct difference between repeat business and loyalty. Repeat business means that someone will continue to come back to you and buy from you for some reason that motivates or conveniences them. It could be price, location, selection. But as soon as someone else does the same thing you do a little better, customers jump ship.
  • Focus first on bringing your “why” to life from the inside-out of your company. Too many organizations exclaim customer first! That sends an inadvertent or a direct message to your people that they are, at best, your second priority. How does that make them feel? They are the ones coming to work every day, spending more time there than with their families. It is their blood, sweat and tears we ask for.
  • Yes, we need customers to keep the lights on and the engine moving, but who are the ones that actually service those customers? Your employees. Treat them as your top priority, and they will treat your current and potential customers as their priority — second only to your team’s commitment, first and foremost, to each other. It seems counter-intuitive, but it makes perfect sense. Take care of the people who take care of the customers. The best customer service companies in the world — Zappos, Southwest Airlines, and Container Store — all put their people first.
  • The “why” of a company is like the character of a person. It is who you are. It is how you show up.
  • If the “why” is articulated in terms that include the product, service, industry or customer — it’s not a true “why.” Saying “to be the best,”  or “to offer the highest quality product at the best possible price” or “excellence in all we do” — none of these are “whys.” They are goals or results at best. At worst, they are meaningless, corporate pabulum. Our company’s “why” is to inspire people to do what inspires them so together we can change our world for the better. We have infinite possibilities for the products and services we can offer to advance that cause, and we are able to pivot our strategy and marketing to stay current with the times. But who we are at our core has never and will never change. Ever.
  • The best part is, when we impact people at work, they bring it home. We can change people’s lives by giving them a place they feel inspired to go to work at every day, feel safe when they’re there, and return home fulfilled at the end of the day.
  • Every CEO today says that their people are their most important asset, but how many actually put their people first?
  • I am inspired by a world where shareholders, corporate boards, analysts, employees and customers demand that organizations exist to advance something bigger than themselves. Who values the long-term growth of their people over the short-term growth of their profits? Money is important, but money is fuel, not a purpose.
  • Business can change people’s lives and change the world — only when they know why they are in business in the first place.