How Great Leaders Inspire Action
TEDx (Puget Sound) Talk by Simon Sinek

Listening to Simon Sinek explain what he calls “The Golden Circle” is fascinating. He begins with questions. “How do you explain when things that do succeed defy all of the assumptions? Why is Apple so innovative year after year,” he asks, “when they are just like everyone else? Same assets, talents, agencies.” Using three little words — why, how and what — Sinek explains why some leaders and organizations are able to succeed and others are not.


Simply put, all of the great and inspiring leaders and organizations in the world think, act and communicate the exact same way. And it is the complete opposite to everyone else. Let’s think about his Golden Circle.

The outer circle is WHAT. Every single organization on the planet knows what it does. Apple, as an example, “Makes great computers.”

Next is HOW organizations do what they do. Some do know how they do it; others do not. Citing Apple again: “We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly.”

WHY sits inside the circle’s center. “Very, very few people or organizations,” says Sinek, “know why they do what they do.” He further states that making a profit is not why they do it — that is a result of what organizations do.

Purpose, belief, or a cause are the reasons why leaders and companies do what they do and this is what sets them apart from others. The way we think and act and communicate is “from the inside out, the action of all inspired leaders.”

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, which also explains why people not only buy computers from Apple, but purchase all of their other products as well.

Sinek refers to Apple because “they are easy to understand and everyone gets it.”

“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. Wanna buy one?”

Using Martin Luther King as another example, Sinek says, “King didn’t go around telling people what needed to change; he went around telling people what he believed. And, if you talk about what you believe, you will attract those people who believe what you believe. King gave his famous I have a dream speech — not his I have a plan speech.

And remember, whether they are 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.