In Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, Simon Sinek explains the importance of identifying your personal purpose and extending this knowledge to different areas of your life.
Discovering your purpose will help you to avoid making bad assumptions about people, to make better decisions, to inspire people, to motivate people to achieve goals, to build great organizations and to mature into a successful leader.
Undeniably, most of us make unfair assumptions about other people, about the world around us and we tend to adjust our lives around these assumptions. Others attempt to gather information through polls, surveys, personal experience or external perspectives to make important decisions and to motivate people.
However, having the right data and all the great advice in the world doesn’t protect us from making bad decisions and underperforming. How to make the best decisions, achieve a desired outcome, motivate people and be successful, discarding all assumptions?
Manipulation for Motivation
Leaders achieve results by making decisions. When leaders don’t understand their goals or the way to achieve an outcome, they tend to manipulate others to reach their goals.
Manipulation is quite visible and effective in the business world, has become the norm and a flawed assumption in itself. For example, businesses either:
- Drop their prices to attract customers in order to get rid of old products and to welcome new ones. This creates low expectations in customers who stop buying and wait for the next price decrease.
- Give away free promotions with their products to entice customers. The promotional process is purposefully complicated to reduce the number of people getting the free product but to increase the number of random product purchase.
- Use fear to motivate people, to make them obey rules, to understand the consequences of their actions and moreover to step away from unwanted products. Fear tactics are seen in advertisements and in politics.
- Make us aspire to a better lifestyle with one product. This tactic has a positive intention but is still manipulative because it is only effective with insecure people.
- Use peer pressure to make people believe that their product is the best and that they have no choice but to purchase it. This tactic is designed to make people feel like they are missing out on something.
- Innovate in order to compensate for society’s need for change and to potentially boost sales. In reality, companies don’t invent new products but add features to existing ones.
- Write conditions in fine prints , offer products at low tariffs to only rise the price later.
However, manipulation is a back biting and short termed method to get results. It guarantees transactions and not loyalty.
Inspiration for Motivation: The Golden Circle
Some leaders go against the norm and choose to inspire people rather than manipulating them. To do so, they follow the Golden Circle.
Inspired by the mathematical golden ratio, the Golden Circle rule has many applications in different areas of life, favors “order and predictability in human behavior”, helps leaders communicate their vision from the inside out.
The Golden Circle is a guide to vastly improving leadership skills, the corporate culture, the company’s hiring skills, product development, sales and marketing. It even explains loyalty and how to create enough momentum to turn an idea into a social movement.
The Golden Circle has 3 steps: first identify why, then ask how and lastly ask what.
Leaders who know why they do what they do first build long-lasting success, are much more appealing, are able to communicate their belief, to include people, to drive positive decisions and to command loyalty. A lack of understanding of why leaders do what they do only breeds doubt, make decisions harder, make them resort to manipulation.
Knowing why will improve the leader’s charisma and confidence, will attract followers by giving them something to believe in, will inspire them but won’t be able to drive an entire movement.
To have a broader impact, leaders have to be authentic, to trust their gut and their purpose. Additionally, they have to diffuse their message, through commercials and through their logo, with a purpose and not with manipulation tactics.
The second step resides in putting the purpose into action. To put their vision into action, leaders must gather a following and gain their trust. Therefore, leaders have to identify their core values and principles that guide their decisions, be disciplined enough to stick to these values, share their purpose, and show that they are not self-interested.
Followers having the same set of values as the leaders will have the opportunity to innovate, to trust the workspace and to go the extra mile. Having a loyal following provides peace of mind, increases trust, reduces the stress levels and the need for hard work.
Needless to say, leaders with different sets of values, often don’t fit in a particular culture. If they don’t belong, they won’t be able to make others feel like they belong, they won’t hire people who will embody their values.
The third and last step consists in leaders remaining consistent and staying accountable to their values and principles.
Maintaining the Golden Circle
When leaders or organizations no longer have purpose, start feeling unsuccessful and start being untrustworthy, though having great achievements under their belts.
Leaders must fight to maintain the Golden Circle so that they can sustain trust, drive and purpose. To do so, they must maintain clarity of their vision, extract it and integrate it into the culture of the company and find a successor willing to preserve the vision.
Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, by Simon Sinek is a self-help book that help you understand the importance of having a purpose.
The Golden Circle classifies people in Why-types (visionaries), How-types (realists and executives) and What-types (employees). In addition, the Golden Circle clarifies the conception of great organization and the composition of all hierarchy. At the top of the organization, stands the leader representing the vision and imagining the destination. In the middle, are the executives who know how to bring the vision to life and imagine the route. Finally, at the bottom, are the employees who implement the results (money, profit, prices).
It is remarkable for people who owns businesses, for leaders who want to market themselves, to find their purpose and sustain success. Becoming successful without knowing who you are is almost impossible.
I would have to agree with Simon Sinek: loyalty and trust are the most valued and long-lasting qualities in relationships and in business. These qualities reduce our stress levels and the pressure to compete or to innovate.
Furthermore, it discloses real truths in marketing, in business and in corporate, observes what makes them successful and what makes them fail. It also shows us the numerous manipulation tactics that we have certainly fallen victims to.
We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us. Those whom we consider great leaders all have an ability to draw us close and to command our loyalty.
Cultures are groups of people who come together around a common set of values and beliefs. When we share values and beliefs with others, we form trust. Trust of others allows us to rely on others to help protect our children and ensure our
personal survival. […] A company is a culture.
What all great leaders have in common is the ability to find good
fits to join their organizations
Simon Sinek is a motivational speaker. He is also the author of Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action (2009) and of Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.