Follow Simon Sinek: Find Your Why and Unlock the Benefits of Value-Driven Leadership
The Power of Purpose in Leadership
When you read Simon Sinek, ‘Find your why’ becomes a rallying call to leaders and organisations that want to inspire the key attributes of alignment. These include trust, a shared vision, greater collaboration, focus, motivation, transparency, harmony, and much more.
Sinek’s theory of the Golden Circle encompasses three rings:
- What: The outer ring – what you do or what you make. Everyone knows what they do.
- How: The middle ring – how you do what you do. Some people know this.
- Why: The heart of the framework - describes why you do what you do. Very few know this.
Think about it. You know that your organisation makes widgets. You have a good idea how these widgets are made. Now, do you know why your organization makes widgets?
The importance of discovering your why
What you do is probably not unique. If you differentiate your organization, or yourself, on what you do, it won’t be much different to a million other companies and people. You make widgets. So do companies all over the world. You lead a team. So do millions of others.
What you do is grey. It melts into the background. Very rarely will your job title excite and enthuse someone to hear more. “I’m a managing director,” does not make a crowd fall over themselves to learn more.
The same can be said about your ‘how’. Describing how you do something may be interesting, but it’s unlikely to be awe-inspiring. The manufacturing process is pretty much the same if you make clothes or shoes or cars – it’s a production line on which people work machines to turn raw materials into finished goods. Have you fallen asleep yet?
There are notable exceptions, of course. You could be a deep-sea diver whose next job is to travel into space to explore why the moon is rusting.
What makes you stand out is your why. Your purpose in life. The values that prompt you to do what you do and how you do it. Now that’s a story that people want to hear. When Simon Sinek says ‘Find your why’, he makes a big point.
Why you must discover your why
‘Why?’ is the question that many find hard to answer. It’s there, but it is abstract. It’s a collection of ideas, thoughts, values, and beliefs. Yet it is there. It connects who you are to what you do. It has huge power, too. It is what makes you unique and creates loyal employees, customers, partners, and other stakeholders.
The difficulty in explaining your why is its intangible nature. You can’t see it or touch it. When you discover your why as an individual, it will help you decide on the type of organisation you want to work for and the type of work you want to do.
For organisations, being able to describe your why will help you identify the problems you want to solve, who you want to solve them for, and attract talent that aligns with your purpose.
Exploring your why
The question now is, how do you find your why?
The starting point is to explore the reason you get up in the morning, the reason you go to work, the reason you do what you do. What is your story? It is that that will engage, excite, and inspire.
This may sound an easy exercise, but only when you begin the discovery process will you learn how difficult finding your why can be. A partner is often essential. They will help you to identify the thread that connects your stories together, the experiences that have had most impact on you, and why your tangibles help you realise the intangible nature of your purpose.
Understanding your why will allow you to clarify your direction. It will give everything you do its purpose. It’s the reason why people are loyal to their manager and their employer. It’s the reason why customers don’t source their products based on price.
Start your journey to finding your why by completing this short Personal Values Assessment. Once you have your results, you can dive deeper with the 'Understanding your Purpose' free virtual workshop by Sarah Cave. Client Partner & Primeast Director, Sarah is an accredited coach and certified practitioner of the Leadership Circle™.
To understand the challenges your organisation faces, and the opportunities for change, complete the Primeast PrimeFocus™ assessment.
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