Start with Why

Start with Why

Simon Sinek

This was an interesting and motivating book. It breaks down the action that leaders take into what the author calls the Golden Circle, with a why, a what and a how. The why being at the center , the smallest circle, the how being next, and the what being the biggest circle that covers everything. Sinek uses examples from industry game changers like Apple and Southwest Airlines. Every company that has been a game changer for their industry has started with a Why, and a Why person was at the helm.

Apple was started by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak back in the 70s. They wanted everyone to be able to have access to a home computer, not just businesses and the government. They wanted to empower the general pubic with use of a home pc. Apple was the first to use a mouse and a graphical user interface. The other pc’s of the late 70’s and early 80’s used a text based interface called Dos and if you are as old as me, you might have some vague childhood memories of typing in dos commands, they were clunky and not always user friendly. Every computer user interface today is an evolved version of the first that the Steve’s came up with back in the 70’s. Apple changed the way everyone interacted with computers, and it all started with a Why. Apple has continued to change the industry many times over the years with iTunes and the iPhone and many more. If Apple continues with their original Why, they will change the industry many times in the future as well.

Southwest Airlines is another example. Before Southwest, flying was a formal affair, only afforded my people of higher income brackets. People wore suits and dresses when they flew. The common person could not afford to fly. Southwest changed all that by making the flights affordable and changing the entire feel of flying. They wanted to make it more causal and reachable by everyone. They started putting their flight attendants in hot pants and go-go boots. Prior to that flight attendants dressed very formal and conservatively. Over a few years Southwest changed the entire industry, and many of those change are still around today. It all started with their Why.

Not everyone can be a Steve or Southwest, but you can start with a Why. What do you want to change ? What is going on around you that you can improve on ? Other companies are good at What, but their why could be a little fuzzy. Take Dell for example, they make great computer, and they make a lot of them. Go into just about any office, or school and more than likely there will be some Dell computers around. But what has Dell done that has changed the industry ? What is the difference between Dell, HP , Acer, not a whole lot, they are all just different flavors of the same basic computer. If I went to the library and hopped in a computer, most likely the only way to tell the difference between a Dell and an HP would be the logo on the front. But you know for sure when you are on an Apple computer, the whole experience is different. Even though Apple has an over all small share of the world wide computer industry, you know the difference between Apple and the competition.

What is your why ? Something I am trying to figure out myself. My own Why is somewhere, and I can’t quite put it into words yet. Its kinda like I am looking through a dirty window, I cleaned a few layers of dirt off the inside, but there is still a layer of dirt and fog on the outside of the window that I cannot quite reach yet. Perhaps I do not have to proper tools just yet to reach the outside, I need a scaffold or a squeegee with a really long handle to get to that grime.