LESSONS FROM SIMON SINEK:
WELCOME TO THE JOURNEY OF WHY!
WHEN THE WORLD DOESN’T START WITH WHY
When you are selling a product similar to one that someone else is selling, with similar features, at a similar price, the question becomes, how do you attract customers? Usually, when asked why your customers shop with you, people would typically say it’s because of your features or price, in short, this is a nice way of saying, we have no idea.
There are two ways to influence behavior: inspiration or manipulation. We manipulate the whole time – sales, promotions, unfortunately, manipulation works. Prices, promotions, fear and peer pressure are all used to manipulate and motivate a purchase. All of these techniques work, but none of them are sustainable. They are short-term wins and don’t encourage loyalty. Succesful leadership can help you reach the top, but they won’t make people follow you. Leadership is the ability to motivate people not just for a single event but to inspire individuals for years to come.
In the professional word, leadership means that customers will continue to support your company even if you make mistakes, after all, we are human, and we aren’t perfect.
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
Few leaders choose to inspire rather than manipulate to motivate people. Whether individuals or organizations, every single one of these inspiring leaders thinks, acts and communicates the same way, it’s the complete opposite of the rest of us. Consciously or not, how they do it is by following a naturally occurring pattern that is called “The Golden Circle.”
The Golden Circle identifies how leaders inspired action instead of manipulating action.
- WHAT: Every company, hopefully, knows what they do because they can describe their actions.
- HOW: Some companies know how they accomplish WHAT they do because they know how they’re different, specifically they have a unique selling point.
- WHY: Very few companies know why they do what they do, WHAT is the companies purpose, and WHY should anyone care?
Normal companies communicate from the outside-in “…this is what we do, and this is how we do it…” For example, if Apple were like other companies, they would sound like this: “We make great computers, they’re beautifully designed and easy to use. Wanna buy one?”
Inspiring companies start with WHY. There’s no trickery or manipulation, they simply reverse the order of the information. “…we believe in challenging minimal expectations, and by thinking differently, we design products that are beautiful and easy to use, we also just so happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one?”
The fact is, Apple is really reversing the information because they start with WHY all the time. They simply think and communicate differently, the WHY engages us emotionally while the WHAT and HOW serve as the evidence of the belief. Other companies can attempt to copy what they do or how they do it, but if they don’t understand and start with WHY they will never be the same.
People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it, for example, a company marketed their product as a “32GB mp3 player.” While Apple stated “…7,000 songs in your pocket…” Both are the exact same message, the only difference is that the first company told us WHAT their product was while Apple told us WHY we needed it. Only when we decided we wanted an Apple product, did the WHAT actually matter, and then we chose the 32GB version, 64GB version or the 128GB version. The tangible details that proved we could get the 7,000 songs in our pocket, our decision started with WHY, and so did Apple’s offering.
The goal is to attract people who believe in your WHY. You don’t need the how to be different from the competition. It’s not a debate about better or worse, it’s a discussion about different needs, and before the discussion can even happen, the WHYs for each must be established.
Another example, if a company specializing in making trains and railroads in the late 1800’s, if this entity defined themselves by what they did and ignored the development of the airplane, they would have eventually died. If the company had defined themselves by WHY, transport mass people, and merchandise, this might have shifted from manufacturing trains to the development of a commercial airline.
It is in our DNA that we find the sense of belonging and the urgency for survival, this notion comes from a common set of values. Focusing on this concept, if a company was formed with the WHAT in mind, there might have been an edge of appeal, but success is hinged on the creation of a company that focuses on the WHY. This is critical because WHY shows that we care about an individual’s beliefs and in turn get a sense of belonging because the product now becomes a symbol of their beliefs.
Finding WHY is powerful, it is not an opinion, its biology. A cross-section of the human brain reveals the levels of the Golden Circle correspond to the three major levels of the brain.
- The neocortex corresponds to relational thought and analytical thinking which translates directly to the WHAT.
- The limbic brain corresponds feelings and emotion, while this is the area that decisions are made, this is also the part of the brain has no control over language so that is why it can be hard to describe feelings, this area directly translates to the HOW and WHY.
When we can’t put these feelings into words, we are forced to rationalize decisions with the evidence we have (the WHAT). When you communicate from the outside-in, you give all of the critical details while not engaging the limbic part of the brain, this is why people get the feeling when something “doesn’t feel right,” even though it still may seem like a rational decision. When you communicate from the inside-out, you are talking directly to the part of the brain that controls decision making, the language part of the brain, the neocortex rationalizes the emotions.
Gut-decisions and thinking from the heart actually all happens in the limbic brain. Organizations that fail to communicate a sense of WHY force us to make decisions with only empirical evidence, this is why decisions take more time, feel difficult and commonly leave us uncertain.
The limbic brain is extremely powerful and out ways rational thought, this is the area where innovation comes from, and it is why we take risks that seem illogical. This is the same reason people will pay more money for an Apple even though it is often less powerful than a cheaper PC. They do it for themselves because Apple’s are a symbol of who they are and how they like to be seen.
A great example, the Apple logo is upside down to the user and right way up for others to see, simply stated: clarity, discipline and, reliability. WHY is just the beginning!
THE EMERGENCE OF TRUST
As a human being, by default we are attracted to those have the same values and beliefs, when we believe the same things, a trust or a bond emerges. This is what allowed our ancestors to leave their families behind so they could go and hunt knowing that everything would be protected by the people who shared the same needs and beliefs. This principle can be easily applied when we recruit new members, we should recruit people who believe what we believe so that we can trust one another, instead of finding members purely based on skills and experience.
As a service club, we need to talk about our WHY and prove it with WHAT we do globally, within our community, and within our club meetings. WHY is just a belief, the HOWs are the actions we take while the WHATs are the results of the actions. All three but be in continuous balance, and when they are internal trust is built, and our value as a service club is perceived.
Trust is not a checklist, just because you fulfill your responsibilities does not create a sense of trust, it is a feeling, not a rational experience. We trust some people and companies even when things go wrong, and we don’t trust others even though everything might have gone exactly as it should have.
Our goal is to locate those who are passionate about our WHY, our purpose, our causes and our beliefs. Great organization don’t locate skilled people and motivate them, they find already motivated people and inspire them, the unfortunate reality is that people are either motivated, or they are not. Unless we can motivate people, something to believe in, something bigger than to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find an organization that will help them fill a need that we couldn’t. Tradition has shown that once individuals can trust the culture of an organization, they will take personal risks to advance that culture or organization. The key to remember, a great organization become great because the people inside the organization feel protected and engaged.
A strong sense of culture creates a sense of belonging, people come to meetings and event knowing that their fellow members and leadership as a whole will look out for them and what they value the most.
WHY I JOINED ROTARY
Growing up, I always wanted to help, it was simply in my blood, and I knew I needed to help my community. For me, it wasn’t if I should help, it was how I should help. I stumbled through many organizations claiming to help, but at the end of the day the fit wasn’t right, and the organization’s impact on the community was negligible, and I didn’t feel that I was able to help those in need. After I earned my Masters in Architecture, I quickly realized, that while I loved the design field, this was not a practical way to help. My second master and my Ph.D. were in an engineering field, and while I loved school, I was still missing the possibilities of giving back or helping the community.
For me, when I joined Rotary three elements stand out, the first element is friendship, the second was personal development, and third, I had the chance to make a difference. Together, 1.3 million like-minded people, Rotarians, joined together to eradicate polio, a task that would be impossible for anyone to accomplish alone.
As the Chief Information Officer for a manufacturing facility, I love my job, every day is a different adventure, but ultimately at the end of the day, or at the end of the week, I look back, and I realize that daily life can be tough. We wake up, we go to work, deal with the boss, make some money, come home, try to have a personal life, go to bed, wake up, and repeat. After continually going through this cycle, we start to question why do we do what we do. Why do we keep in this cycle?
Traditionally human beings live their lives by accident, we live as life happens, but we can’t forget, fulfillment comes when we live our lives with purpose.
We want to wake up inspired, we go to work, come home and feel fulfilled each day, but how do we do this? The answer to that question is simple. We need to discover our WHY, we are better able to find the clarity and confidence to choose the careers, organizations, communities, and relationships that are most likely to inspire us if we can identify our WHY.
CLUB SUCCESS IS IN THE GOALS
My goals this year revolve around increasing our presence in the community, helping our local neighbors while focusing on helping humanity on a global basis.
We do amazing community work, but we need to strengthen our immediate public image. To accomplish this, we will be boosting support for our Public Image Committee allowing them to take needed action to broadcast our current projects and our accomplishments. We will also be increasing our social media presence, and we will revitalize our current website to appropriately reflect our club actives, increasing which in turn will increase local interaction with our content and then direct involvement with our club.
In addition, we will be supporting and strengthening the club by aiming to achieve a net gain of 10 new members, we will improve our membership retention rate by 1% while also focusing on increasing a net gain in female members.
We will focus and increase our humanitarian service by encouraging more members to become involved in our service projects, while also by conducting significant local and international projects.
With a specific focus on enhancing the public image and awareness of our club, we will be increasing our number of media posts for club projects while focusing on documenting and details our volunteer hours, funds raised, community sponsors, and photographs of our amazing Rotarians in action. It is critical that the community sees and understands how we help.
Committees are a critical part to the club’s success, we need to energize our committees to accomplish our goals. The Membership Committee is a vital lifeline for the success of our club. We have to remember, club success rests on all of our shoulders – we must all be engaged, together we can do anything!
I will personally strive to help our club earn not only the Rotary Citation but also earn the citation with Platinum Distinction. This will be possible by achieving a minimum net gain of 6 new members, showing how our club’s members are People of Action on social media while also initiating a leadership, personal, or professional development program to enhance members’ skills and their ability to help the community.
Members & Engagement: I have set our goal for club membership to a total of 65 members and would like to see 10 current members sponsor new members while increasing our service participation to 40 a minimum of members.
Rotary Foundation Giving: I have set our Annual Fund contributions goal to $11,000 and set the Polio Plus Fund contributions to $26.50 per Rotarian. In addition, it would be an honor during my year if we could achieve a goal of adding 1 Major Gift, 1 Bequest Society member and 10 new Benefactors to our club.
While we work on increasing our presence in the community, I have set our Social Activities goal to 9 events, our goal to update our website and social media accounts it set to 20 updates a month, while strongly encouraging a minimum of 10 Media stories during the Rotary Year about club projects.
I’m excited to announce that working closely with Dr. Barrett and Pete Leenhouts, we have secured a District Community Grant to help revitalize the Jefferson Teen Center and we will continue to work towards securing a Global Grant to help with a personal passion of mine, water and sanitation.
Two key points to always remember, we must never stop learning, and we must always adapt to change. While it is often difficult to do so, it is a requirement for us to stay relevant in today’s culture.