Start with Why Quotes by Simon Sinek

I recently read Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why. It is amazing to me how well Simon encapsulates the concept of having a purpose in such an easy to understand (and implement) way. You can check out Simon’s website here.

Why do you do what you do?

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

simon_sinekThere are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief – WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.

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.

For values or guiding principles to be truly effective they have to be verbs. It’s not “integrity,” it’s “always do the right thing.” It’s not “innovation,” it’s “look at the problem from a different angle.” Articulating our values as verbs gives us a clear idea – we have a clear idea of how to act in any situation.

Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders—in that order.

Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.

You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.

Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.

Trust is maintained when values and beliefs are actively managed. If companies do not actively work to keep clarity, discipline and consistency in balance, then trust starts to break down.

All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”
― Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

In order to improve HOW and WHAT we do, we constantly look to what others are doing. We attend conferences, read books, talk to friends and colleagues to get their input and advice, and sometimes we are also the dispensers of advice. We are in pursuit of understanding the best practices of others to help guide us. But it is a flawed assumption that what works for one organization will work for another. Even if the industries, sizes and market conditions are the same, the notion that “if it’s good for them, it’s good for us” is simply not true.

― Simon Sinek, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action
Trust does not emerge simply because a seller makes a rational case why the customer should buy a product or service, or because an executive promises change. Trust is not a checklist. Fulfilling all your responsibilities does not create trust. Trust is a feeling, not a rational experience. We trust some people and companies even when things go wrong, and we don’t trust others even though everything might have gone exactly as it should have. A completed checklist does not guarantee trust. Trust begins to emerge when we have a sense that another person or organization is driven by things other than their own self-gain. With trust comes a sense of value—real value, not just value equated with money. Value, by definition, is the transference of trust. You can’t convince someone you have value, just as you can’t convince someone to trust you. You have to earn trust by communicating and demonstrating that you share the same values and beliefs. You have to talk about your WHY and prove it with WHAT you do.
― Simon Sinek, Start with Why

…over the course of time, all of Apple’s competitors lost their WHY. Now all those companies define themselves by WHAT they do: we make computers. They turned from companies with a cause into companies that sold products. And when that happens, price, quality, service and features become the primary currency to motivate a purchase decision. At that point a company and its products have ostensibly become commodities. As any company forced to compete on price, quality, service or features alone can attest, it is very hard to differentiate for any period of time or build loyalty on those factors alone.”
― Simon Sinek, Start with Why