How do you explain why some companies are so much better than others? Take Apple – how have they managed to be so far ahead in terms of product innovation than their competitors? When they have access to the same knowledge, consultants, media, resources, etc?
Why is it that Martin Luther King led the civil rights movement? There were certainly better public speakers, and more prominent people at the time, what propelled King to be the leader of that movement? Similarly with the Wright brothers, who had less resources than others, yet managed to achieve flight before others.
As it turns out, there is a pattern which is common to all of these leaders. They all act in a completely different way to their competitors or peers. It’s probably the world’s simplest ideas – and Sinek calls it ‘the golden circle’.
Every single organization on the planet knows ‘what’ they do. Some know ‘how’ they do it, by a propitiatory process or a USP, for example. But very few know ‘why’ they do it. Why they do what they do – why should anyone care about it? It’s not about making a profit, that’s the result.
Most companies work from the what first, because it’s easier. Take Apple again – they start with a why. They want to do things differently, to challenge the status-quo. The how for Apple is to do it with great design and usability. The what happens to be computers, but it could be anything.
But people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
The goal is not to do business with anybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with everybody who believes what you believe.
The why taps into the part of the brain that is related to emotion and feeling. Companies that connect with the why, create a loyalty with the customer (or voter, etc.). Because there is a connection about the core belief in why you do what you do.
Simple model, brilliant way of thinking about your company’s message.
(Part of TED a day for June)