In June of this year I read Start With Why by Simon Sinek as part of my online business book group. It has been awhile since I read a book that drove so many actions in my life. My approach has been better aligned with my values and I’m better communicating in a way that illustrates what I believe and who I am.
Sinek’s book operates under the premise that everything that a person or organization does should emulate the why. Specifically, why they do it. The book is full of examples of great companies that started with a clear vision of why they were in business and eventually lost their why. Everything suggests that the clear sense of why that drives action effects the bottom line and long term viability of any business or venture.
I loved his use of examples that we can all understand such as Apple, Walmart, Microsoft, Dell, etc. There are a lot of things that I took from this. For one, I need to remember that my target market (regardless of the venture) consists of those people who share the same why. People who share the same why become natural advocates of the company, service, or product and tend to be connected to others who share the same why. That is how viral marketing happens in principle.
I learned that nobody cares as much about what I do or how I do it as they do about why I do it. As I read through this book I went to the About pages on all of my websites and rewrote them to include a clear transfer of belief instead of the usual this is who we are and what we do. This also lead to significant changes in places like marketing materials and LinkedIn pages and profiles.
I learned that while sometimes strange or awkward I will only create stronger relationships with people and organizations if I ask them WHY. Next time I’m at a marketing event or sitting next to someone on an airplane I will be asking the question, “Why do you do what you do?” So far this simple change in directing conversations has led to amazing experiences.
So let me ask you. Why?