By Simon Sinek (Portfolio, 2009)
We are easily caught up in the details of what we want to do, and how we are going to get it all done. Communications expert Simon Sinek argues that we’d be far better off if we more regularly focused on why we’re investing all that effort and activity in the first place. It’s the WHY, after all, that inspires action, that galvanizes people and keeps them going when the going gets tough. Embodying our WHYs and effectively communicating them to anyone who will listen, asserts Sinek, is crucial to both personal and business success. “People don’t buy WHAT you do,” Sinek explains. “They buy WHY you do it.” Sinek underscores his argument with profiles of leaders and companies that have won employee, partner and customer loyalty by operating according to a pattern he calls The Golden Circle (picture a simple target with a bulls-eye of WHY, surrounded by a center ring of HOW and an outer ring of WHAT). He explains how each of us can achieve greater success and satisfaction by inspiring others through a shared sense of purpose — as opposed to more commonly used tactics of coercion and manipulation. “If you follow your WHY,” writes Sinek, “others will follow you.” It’s a refreshing redefinition of what constitutes true leadership, and a great tool for re-infusing your own work with purpose-centered passion.