Getting to Yes, And

Simon Sinek: Start with Why


Simon Sinek

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You talk a lot about purpose and why - and that it’s not easy to always know what we should be doing and when we should be doing it.

“Being human is a paradox, right? Every single day of our lives we are faced with a paradox at every single moment. Individuals and members of groups  have this debate like should we take care of ourselves before we take care of others or do we have to take care of others so that they will take care of us. And the answer is yes. It's not one or the other. It's both. And this is the paradox everyday of our lives. We're faced with decisions: do we prioritize our interests or do we prioritize of the interests of our team or our group or our community? And the answer is it's not easy and we have to, and it's about balance. And when the balance tips is when problems show up.”

You also talk about the unnatural way in which we expect doers to become leaders.

“Nobody starts as a leader, right? We all started off as doers and you work your way into a position of leadership. What do you become? A leader is a different question and when we're doers, you only have to be good at doing. And then when you become a leader, you now are responsible for the people who do the job you used to do. But nobody really shows us how to do that. They gave us training on how to use the machine. But then when we're responsible for other people who use the machine, they just expect to speak good at that, right? They never showed us how to work this new contraption. It’s a  whole different muscle and so we really have to make this conversion where we recognize that we're no longer responsible for the job. We're now responsible for the people who are responsible for the job and  letting go of something that we actually know how to do well, that got us promoted in the first place and allowing others to screw it up and learn their lessons just as we screwed it up and learned our lessons for some people is overwhelming.”

And back to ‘The Why,’ you’re really talking about decision making, right?

“Henry Ford said famously, ‘if I asked people what they wanted, they would've said a faster horse.’ What good companies are able to do is understand the reasons behind the things we're saying rather than things were saying, in other words, they observe behavior and they actually can discern how we're making decisions but not by asking it. Most companies think that it's price, quality, service or features, and they compete on price, quality, service and features and they don't actually understand the biology of how people make decisions. And that's one of the things that I attempt to communicate and explain, which is this importance of this thing called the why, which is really central to human decision making. It's not my opinion, it's not some highfalutin management play. It's the biology of human decision making.”

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