How Great Leaders Inspire Action - Deepstash
How Great Leaders Inspire Action

How Great Leaders Inspire Action





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The Defiers Of All Assumptions

How do you explain when things don't go as we assume? Or better, how do you explain when others are able to achieve things that seem to defy all of the assumptions? For example: Why is Apple so innovative? Year after year, after year, they're more innovative than all their competition. And yet, they're just a computer company. They're just like everyone else. They have the same access to the same talent, the same agencies, the same consultants, the same media. Then why is it that they seem to have something different?


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The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle

As it turns out, there's a pattern. 

As it turns out, all the great inspiring leaders and organizations in the world, whether it's Apple, or Martin Luther King, they all think, act and communicate the exact same way. And it's the complete opposite to everyone else. In 2006 Simon Sinek discovered it and codified it.

He says it’s probably the world's simplest idea.

He calls it the golden circle.


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Don’t Start With “What”. Start With “Why”

Start with “Why”. Move to “How”. Then to “What”.

This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren't.

Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100%. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiated value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP. But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by "why" Simon Sinek doesn’t mean "to make a profit." That's a result. It's always a result.


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What “Why” Is: Going From The Inside Out

By "why," Simon Sinek means: What's your purpose? What's your cause? What's your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care? As a result, the way we think, we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in, it's obvious. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and the inspired organizations - regardless of their size, regardless of their industry -- all think, act and communicate from the inside out.


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People Don’t Buy Your “What”.

If Apple were like everyone else, a marketing message from them might sound like this: 

"We make great computers. They're beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. Want to buy one?" 


That's how most of us communicate. That's how most marketing and sales are done, that's how we communicate interpersonally. We say what we do, we say how we're different or better and we expect some sort of a behavior, a purchase, a vote, something like that.

But it's uninspiring.


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People Buy Your “Why”.

Here's how Apple actually communicates.

"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. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?" Totally different, right? You're ready to buy a computer from them. 

They just reversed the order of the information. 

What it proves to us is that people don't buy what you do; people buy why you do it.


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People don't buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.

The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. 

The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.



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We’re Biologically Made To Buy “Why”

If you look at a cross-section of the human brain, from the top down, the human brain is actually broken into three major components that correlate perfectly with the golden circle. Our newest brain, our Homo sapiens brain, the neocortex, corresponds with the "what" level. The neocortex is responsible for all of our rational and analytical thought and language. The middle two sections make up our limbic brains, and these are responsible for all of our feelings, like trust and loyalty. They are also responsible for all human behavior, all decision-making, and they have no capacity for language.


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Starting With “What” Is Giving Information

In other words, when we communicate from the outside in, yes, people can understand vast amounts of complicated information like features and benefits and facts and figures.

It just doesn't drive behaviour.

When we can communicate from the inside out, we're talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behaviour, and then we allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things we say and do. This is where gut decisions come from. Sometimes you can give somebody all the facts and figures, and they say, "I know what all the facts and details say, but it just doesn't feel right."


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Information Alone Does Not Sell Things

Why would we use that verb, it doesn't "feel" right? Because the part of the brain that controls decision-making doesn't control language. The best we can muster up is, "I don't know. It just doesn't feel right." Or sometimes you say you're leading with your heart or soul. I hate to break it to you, those aren't other body parts controlling your behaviour. It's all happening in your limbic brain, the part of the brain that controls decision-making and not language.


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Feelings Sell Things

But if you don't know why you do what you do, and people respond to why you do what you do, then you will never get people to vote for you, or buy something from you, or, more importantly, be loyal and want to be a part of what it is that you do.

Don’t just think about selling. Think about hiring. The goal is not just to hire people who need a job; it's to hire people who believe what you believe. If you hire people just because they can do a job, they'll work for your money, but if they believe what you believe, they'll work for you with blood and sweat and tears. 


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The Law Of Diffusion Of Innovation

But why is it important to attract those who believe what you believe? Something called the law of diffusion of innovation, if you don't know the law, you know the terminology. The first 2.5% of our population are our innovators. The next 13.5% of our population are our early adopters. The next 34% are your early majority, your late majority and your laggards. 


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Aim For The Innovators And The Early Adopters

We all sit at various places at various times on this scale, but what the law of diffusion of innovation tells us is that if you want mass-market success or mass-market acceptance of an idea, you cannot have it until you achieve this tipping point between 15 and 18market penetration. Only then does the system tip.

Why? Because the early majority will not try something until someone else has tried it first.


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Aim For The Ones That Are Doing It For Themselves

There were people who stood in line for six hours to buy an iPhone when they first came out, when you could have bought one off the shelf the next week. They didn't do it because the technology was so great; they did it for themselves. They did it because they wanted to be first. They did it because of what they believed about the world, and how they wanted everybody to see them.

People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.


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Aim For The Ones That Believe What You Believe

In the summer of 1963, 250,000 people showed up on the mall in Washington to hear Dr. King speak. They sent out no invitations, and there was no website to check the date. How do you do that? Well, Dr. King didn't go around telling people what needed to change in America. He went around and told people what he believed. "I believe, I believe, I believe," he told people. And people who believed what he believed took his cause, and they made it their own, and they told people. And some of those people created structures to get the word out to even more people.


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It Was “I Have A Dream”. Not “I Have A Plan”.

There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us. Whether they're individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it's those who start with "why" that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them. 


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“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison


Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership - starting with a golden circle and the question: "Why?"

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