"Let us all choose to be the leaders we wish we had." -Simon Sinek
Happy New Year!
To kick off my @StevePollackCEO 2020 Year of Books, I am beginning with a review of this inspiring work of non-fiction by Simon Sinek, which I recently re-read due to the significant impact it had on me the first time I read it a few years ago.
One of the many ways books can add value to our professional and personal lives is that they sometimes gift us with a brand new lens through which to examine our existing ideas and behaviors. Based on my own experience reading this book, I suggest to you that Start with Why offers a unique perspective on the meaning of "leadership" "loyalty" and "success."
Simon Sinek describes himself as "an unshakable optimist who believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together." He writes and speaks about his discovery of remarkable patterns in how the greatest leaders and organizations think, act and communicate.
Simon may be best known for popularizing the concept of WHY in his first TED Talk in 2009. His talk rose to become the third most watched on TED.com, with over 40 million views and subtitled in 47 languages.
The core idea in Start with Why, is that human beings respond much more powerfully to the WHY behind a product, movement or idea than the WHAT, yet very few organizations, whether they are well-established businesses or recent start-ups, strategically design their business model, their mission statement and their marketing around their own unique WHY.
Sinek gives several clear examples of organizations that have been successful at attracting loyal customers by strategically focusing on why their company does what it does, rather than what the company produces or offers to the public. As simple as that idea may sound, for most companies this shift in focus requires a profound (and difficult to navigate) paradigm shift on the part of its leaders.
In Start with Why, Sinek also proposes that the clearest evidence of powerful leadership is loyalty. Leadership is the ability to rally people—not for a single event—but for years. In business, this kind of loyalty means that stakeholders (customers, members, employees, investors) will continue to support your organization even when you slip up. Loyal stakeholders are willing to turn down an equal or better product, better benefits or a better price to continue doing business with you. Loyal stakeholders often don’t even bother to research the competition or entertain other options. But, this level of loyalty is not easily won.
Anyone who is interested in what it takes to build a business, organization or movement that will attract and retain intensely loyal stakeholders will find invaluable advice, inspiration, ideas and direction in the pages of Start with Why.