Start with the Why Review

Start with the Why Review

What makes successful leaders and companies be what they are? A cristal clear sense of purpose

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If you’ve seen Simon Sinek’s TED talk you probably remember this line:

People don’t buy what you do, they buy Why you do it.

Simon Sinek presents brilliantly a strong hypothesis: business and leaders who start with the why, it is, they have a strong sense of mission about why they do what they do, are the ones who succeed.

Why is that? because our biology, our need to belong. That’s what makes us support a football team, love a flag and, as well, be so called “fan boys” or “Beliebers”. We need leaders to follow, and leaders need following, and those who can clearly articulate this mission and reach our hearts are the ones that make the difference. Those who fail to do that force us to decide based on empirical evidence, something quite difficult with the excess of information available today.

Truth is that “most of the companies don’t know why their customers are their customers”. Not knowing why our customers come to us is at the same time cause and symptom of a lack of Strategy, that reflects that we have no vision nor mission to share, hence, no plan and we base our marketing strategy on what Simon Sinek’s identifies as “manipulations”: Buy from me because I’ll give you something back, i.e. a discount.

The Golden Circle

Simon Sinek identifies in the Golden Circle 3 layers in any business that reflect the the leves of our brain (reptile, limbic and neurocortex):

  1. WHY we do what we do in first place (vision and mission).
  2. HOW we do it (values, our competitor advantage)
  3. WHAT we do (our products, marketing, etc)

According to the author most of companies get it wrong. The start their advertising with WHAT they do, the HOW they do it and eventually some will share WHY they do it.

Successful leaders start with the WHY and engage the audience (the market) at this level. Then, when they find the prospects that share this mission, HOW they do it is a way to prove our values, to keep the coherence with the WHY. Finally WHAT you do to accomplish your vision when you start with the why is not the most important.

Digital General’s Review

Great concepts, like Great Strategies, are simple to explain and they make instant sense to the listener.

Although the main idea of the book is made clear on the Ted Talk, the book is recommended for those who really want to explore the context of this great concept. It’s easy to read and filled with highly inspiration quotes, but we expected more given the awesome concept unveiled in the famous Ted Talk.


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Digital Strategist, Expert in Analytics, CRO and Growth Hacker, with 16 years of experience working in Web Projects. In Conversion Garden Xavi helps companies of any size to get Digital right by using data to build successful strategies.