The Business Edge Blog

July 27, 2010

Start with Why

Subtitle:  How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action… Simon Sinek

Have you read this book yet?  I’m not quite finished, but Simon’s perspective resonates with me and I wanted to tell you about the book before I got lost in the next book. 

Think about your most recent contact with a new person at one of your networking events.  When you met and asked them about their business did they tell you WHAT they do?  Did they give you an idea of HOW they do what they do?  Did you get to the point of knowing WHY they do it?

Simon draws three circles, all with the same center.  The largest circle he labels as WHAT.  The next circle toward the center is HOW and the smallest circle  is WHY. 

Every single organization or employee for an organization should know WHAT the business does or WHAT they do for their organization.  HOW they do WHAT they do may set them apart from their competition.  WHY is tougher.  Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do.  Simon is not talking about making money – that’s a result.  WHY is the purpose, cause or belief.

When most organizations or people think, act or communicate they do so from the outside in, from WHAT to WHY.  It is easiest to do it this way – from clearest to fuzziest. 

As an example in real life, why do people stand in line for hours waiting to be one of the first to own a new version of the iPhone 4 or any other new Apple release? 

Compare these messages and you’ll understand:

Message WHAT-HOW-WHY: 

We make great computers.  They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.  Wanna buy one?

Message WHY-HOW-WHAT: 

Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo.  We believe in thinking differently.  The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.  And we happen to make great computers.  Wanna buy one?

There is a lot more to the book……and we’ll be discussing it in the Business Book Club, so grab a copy, start reading, and let me know if you’d like to become a member and join in on the discussion!



  1. Very interesting concept, the “Why” is often ignored though it may be the most important facet of your business. Thank you for this post and I’ll have to check out this book.

    Comment by Mr. Google — July 27, 2010 @ 9:48 am | Reply

    • Mr Google – Feel free to share your thoughts when you have read the book. I found value to share with my clients. I have started working with some on eleveator speeches that incorporate the Why instead of the What. Good reactions thus far.

      Comment by bizcoachholly — July 27, 2010 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

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