Tag Archives: start with why

How to measure success

Gästinlägg av Simon Sinek

This journey I’m on is a deeply personal one.

When I put words to this thing called the Why, it completely changed the direction of my life. Not a single thing I’m doing these days – not the speaking, not the book, not even this column – was a part of any plan. How could they be on a plan? I couldn’t even imagine them.

With all that has happened in the past few years, someone asked me a question recently that really made me think: “How will you know when you’re successful?”

I know there’s a difference between being successful and feeling successful. And if you ask me if I feel successful, the honest answer is “not yet”. By most standard measurements, I am enjoying more success now than at any other time in my life, but I still don’t feel successful. This is what makes the question so fantastic. If the goal is to feel successful, what is the measurement we should use to achieve that feeling?

The most common standard measurement is money – our bank accounts. That’s how so many people measure their success today, so perhaps it works?

I went to an event for high-performing entrepreneurs and the question was asked of the room, “How many of you have achieved your financial goals?”. Amazingly, 80% of the room raised their hand. Then the question was asked, “How many of you feel successful?” and 80% of the hands went down. This example alone shows that there is little to no connection between the standard measurement of success and the feeling of success.

I for one have never been motivated by the money. Most years, if you were to ask me how much I make, the genuine answer is that I have no clue. I usually find out the answer to that question once a year, at tax time, when my accountant tells me. And if money were the only measurement, we’d all have a number in our minds that, if we reached it, we’d stop working. And most of us don’t. No matter how much I make, I don’t want to stop working. Money doesn’t help me answer that question.

Some would argue that you’re as successful as the company you keep. Certainly there is a connection between our friends and who we are. James Fowler talked about it a couple of years ago in a piece called “Do Your Friends Make You Fat?”. But can we really measure our success based simply on the company we keep? For example, are Vincent Chase’s buddies in the HBO series Entourage successful because they hang out with someone rich and famous? Most of us would say no. Sometimes the opposite happens. Sometimes spending time with someone who is perceived as “successful” can make us feel less successful. The irony is that regardless of how successful we think someone is, we don’t actually know if they feel successful.

Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with people I never imagined even meeting. At two events this week, for example, I shared the stage with The Tipping Point author, Malcolm Gladwell, and David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire, respectively. It was so exciting to spend time with them and it was fantastic to get to soak up some of their genius. I cannot dispute that having the opportunity to work with them certainly is an indicator that things are moving in the right direction, but it didn’t make me feel successful. For me, the best thing about spending time with people I admire is the opportunity to ask them questions and learn from them. Though spending time with them doesn’t make me feel successful, their ideas and their thinking absolutely contribute to making my own work better, which, of course, helps me advance. But it doesn’t yet answer the question.

My friend Georgia Hurd is not famous. She’s not rich. And she’s not yet attained the success she desires. She moved to Los Angeles to become an actress and has been working really hard to achieve her dream. She has been through some hard times. Money has been tight. Her work schedule often hurts her social life. But she perseveres. Her work ethic and her drive are amazing. She is so focused on where she wants to go. It is inspiring. After a couple of years of pushing and lots of wondering if it would ever happen, she’s starting to get some momentum. This week alone, she was called in to do a modeling job for American Apparel, she had some fantastic auditions and people are starting to take notice of her. What Georgia has found is momentum. It is that momentum that makes her feel good. It is the momentum that makes her feel successful.

This is my measurement: Momentum.

That’s what I want to track and measure. Money and the people I meet are stepping stones, indicators that momentum is building – but it is the momentum that makes me feel good.

Studies show that over 90% of Americans don’t feel fulfilled by their work. Think about that. The vast majority of Americans go home at the end of the day without the feeling of success.

I imagine a world in which that statistic is reversed. That most people go to work every day to a job they love and go home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled. That’s the world I’m working to build. My contribution is to share a message that can help make that dream a reality. But only when others join me in this cause; to help spread the message; to build the companies that people love to work for; and to choose jobs based on how the job makes them feel, not simply how much it pays, will this dream become a reality.

I know momentum is building. That, more than any other measurement, makes me feel successful.

So what of the original question, “How will you know when you’re successful?”

The answer: When I reach a level of momentum when the movement can advance without me – then I will feel successful.

Simon Sinek undervisar företagsledare i konsten att inspirera människor. Han konsulterar, skriver och håller tal runt om i världen om kraften i ett tydligt Varför – om syftet, meningen, tron på något som en stark drivkraft hos oss alla. Simons lika enkla som geniala idé, The Golden Circle, är baserad på biologin bakom människans beslutsprocess.

Simon bor i New York, där han undervisar i strategisk kommunikation på Columbia University.
Hans första bok, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, kom ut i oktober 2009.

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Relaterat:

Micco på Twitter ___ The Brand-Man på Facebook

This post is also published on Re:Focus.

How to find your Why

Gästinlägg av Simon Sinek

I have a test for you. Do you know what you believe?

I’m being serious. No matter if you’re a company, a non-profit, an executive, a politician, a CEO or just an average Joe – do you know what you believe?

And I don’t mean a list of things. I mean the one, overriding belief that guides all the decisions you make.

If you’re a leader of some sort and the answer is no, then how do you know who to hire? How do you know what message to put out to employees to inspire loyalty? What message to tell your customers to inspire them to buy from you? How do you know when you’re being authentic or not?

If you’re not a leader, how do you know what job to take? How do you decide what leader you should follow, to give your undying loyalty? How do you know which companies truly have your best interests in mind?

It’s pretty important to know, no?

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Here’s the test. Grab a piece of paper and write a sentence that starts with “I believe…”

But there are some rules:

  1. You must only write one sentence.
  2. And you may not use any of the following words:
    • Best (or similar qualifier),
    • Quality,
    • Price,
    • Service,
    • Features,
    • Innovation or innovative and, most importantly,
    • You may not mention what you do or any product or service you sell.

If you can write one sentence that feels right, then you’re well on your way to knowing your Why.

If you’re up for the challenge, and you’d like to email your results, send them to Ibelieve@sinekpartners.com and I’ll get back to you to help in any way I can.

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P.S. I did the test – and here’s my belief:

I believe that no matter how smart you are or how good your ideas are, the only way to thrive in the world is if you have the ability to inspire those around you.

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Simon Sinek undervisar företagsledare i konsten att inspirera människor. Han konsulterar, skriver och håller tal runt om i världen om kraften i ett tydligt Varför – om syftet, meningen, tron på något som en stark drivkraft hos oss alla. Simons lika enkla som geniala idé, The Golden Circle, är baserad på biologin bakom människans beslutsprocess.

Simon bor i New York, där han undervisar i strategisk kommunikation på Columbia University.
Hans första bok, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, kom ut i oktober 2009.

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Mer av Simon Sinek på The Brand-Man:

Micco på Twitter ___ The Brand-Man på Facebook

This post is also published on Re:Focus.

Don’t protect your property

Gästinlägg av Simon Sinek

It all started in 1885. Grover Cleveland was president of the United States when George Eastman introduced roll film, the invention that paved the way for the development of the motion picture. The film business was such a good business, in fact, that Eastman’s company, Kodak, went on to form an entirely new company whose sole purpose was to manufacture the chemicals needed to develop their film.

In 1936, Kodak introduced 35mm film and life was good.

But then, in 1975, Kodak did something horrible: they invented the digital camera. You heard me right, Kodak invented the digital camera in the 1970s. This was not good. Fearing their new invention would eat away at film and chemical sales, Kodak worked to suppress the new technology.

Kodak made the biggest mistake possible.

As Zig Ziegler said: ”People don’t buy drills, they buy holes”. And Kodak ignored the hole to protect the drill.

Instead of building a business around why people use film, they set out to protect the film itself. No company can suppress an advancement in technology, and certainly not for such a selfish reason as to preserve the status quo to maintain sales of one piece of intellectual property.

And in 1999 it all started to unravel.

Just as digital photography was starting to gain momentum, Kodak’s stock traded at about $80. It has been a steady decline since and now their stock rarely goes beyond between $4 – $5 a share.

The massive loss of money notwithstanding, Kodak has been forced to lay off thousands of workers to stay in business. All because they focused on what they were selling at the expense of why people were buying it.

Imagine if Kodak embraced the reason the film existed and let go of the film. They would be THE pioneer in digital photography.

To paraphrase Seth Godin, the goal is not to find customers for your products, it’s to make products for your customers.

Sadly, other industries were too busy protecting their drills while ignoring the holes to notice what happened to Kodak. The music industry was too busy trying to protect DVDs and an album culture as the world around them moved to an mp3 and song culture. They tried to suppress the spread of mp3s by running around suing 13 year olds.

Even my own publisher, Penguin Books, which is now living in a digital book world, refused to let me give away my book on Kindle for free for a week for fear that it would, and I quote, ”eat away at hard cover sales”. People don’t want a paper-bound book, they want the ideas contained within that book.

Companies obsessed with protecting their intellectual property forget that people are actually buying the application of their intellectual property – why the product exists.

The ones that understand this are the ones that find new and different ways to help people get that application they want regardless the form the intellectual property takes. Call it open source, if you want, the companies who embrace the philosophy are the leaders and the innovators.

Kodak, publishing and the music industry – they are the dinosaurs.

Simon Sinek undervisar företagsledare i konsten att inspirera människor. Han konsulterar, skriver och håller tal runt om i världen om kraften i ett tydligt Varför – om syftet, meningen, tron på något som en stark drivkraft hos oss alla. Simons lika enkla som geniala idé, The Golden Circle, är baserad på biologin bakom människans beslutsprocess.

Simon bor i New York, där han undervisar i strategisk kommunikation på Columbia University.
Hans första bok, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, kom ut i oktober 2009.

_

Relaterat:

Micco på Twitter ___ The Brand-Man på Facebook

This post is also published on Re:Focus.

Blinded by your own product

Gästinlägg av Simon Sinek

Starbucks was founded with a clear sense of Why – that purpose, cause or belief that goes beyond the products we make or the services we offer. At its founding, it was all about the ”third space”, that space between work and home. When Americans chose to hang-out outside of home or work, Starbucks wanted to be that place where they hang-out.

And for many years, they were.

But, like so many companies that make it big, Starbucks forgot the reason it was founded and started to think it was their product that made them successful. Put simply, Starbucks has lost its Why.

This is significant, because it is the Why that is the source of great innovation in a company. It is that founding purpose that gives a company a filter – clarity about the things they should do and the things they shouldn’t do. If the filter gets fuzzy, then the ability to see clearly goes away. And if the ability to see clearly goes away, then how will a company know if they are traveling in the right direction?

Without a clear sense of direction, there is increased focus on product tactics and product strategy and the blinding effect takes hold. Unable to see beyond product will cause the results to falter. As the results falter, the focus on the product becomes more intense. And so the vicious cycle begins.

Starbucks was founded around the experience and the environment of their stores. Starbucks was about a space with comfortable chairs, lots of power outlets, tables and desks at which we could work and the option to spend as much time in their stores as we wanted without any pressure to buy. The coffee was incidental.

With that clear filter, it’s easy to see the things Starbucks should and shouldn’t do. It’s easy to see opportunities to enhance the experience that have nothing to do with coffee. With a clear sense of Why, it makes perfect sense that Starbucks should offer free WiFi to their “guests”. But the haze over Starbuck’s filter has created product blindness and, these days, Starbucks misses the obvious; they didn’t offer their guests free WiFi.

McDonald’s did.

In January of 2010 McDonald’s, just one of the many companies that has capitalized on Starbucks fuzzy Why, started offering free WiFi in all their stores. Feeling the pressure, Starbucks was forced to follow suit six months later.

That a burger joint credited with pioneering the fast-food industry – an industry focused on getting customers in and out as quickly as possible – forced Starbucks to adjust their store experience is a big deal. Just as Apple doesn’t compete with any other computer companies or Harley-Davidson isn’t just another motorcycle, Starbucks shouldn’t be lumped in with everyone that sells coffee. But these days they are, and they have themselves to blame for it.

Starbucks has forgotten about the third space. It has become obsessed with coffee and brushed aside why they were selling coffee in the first place. Blinded by their own product and distracted from their founding purpose, it was Starbucks who invited lots of other players to the table and reduced their own value in the lives of Americans.

We can get coffee anywhere, but not everywhere makes a good third space. If Starbucks wants to make it about the product and not the experience, then they open themselves up to even more competition and even more attacks.

At the end of the day, coffee isn’t worth $4 – but an experience and a comfortable environment is.

Product blindness and missing the obvious is just one symptom of a fuzzy Why. Another is when a company gets distracted by the actions of the competition. Though I haven’t talked to anyone from Starbucks about this, I’ll bet good money that they have become increasingly interested in what McDonald’s or Dunkin’ Donuts is doing these days.

Obsessing about what everyone else is doing over what you are doing is like driving down the highway watching the drivers to the left and right of you. Sure you’ll be able to see how fast they are driving and in what direction, the problem is you won’t see where you’re going.

Companies with a clear sense of Why set the tone and direction in their respective industries. They lead and others look to follow them.

Suffering severe product blindness, however, these days Starbucks is looking for others to follow.

Simon Sinek undervisar företagsledare i konsten att inspirera människor. Han konsulterar, skriver och håller tal runt om i världen om kraften i ett tydligt Varför – om syftet, meningen, tron på något som en stark drivkraft hos oss alla. Simons lika enkla som geniala idé, The Golden Circle, är baserad på biologin bakom människans beslutsprocess.

Simon bor i New York, där han undervisar i strategisk kommunikation på Columbia University.
Hans första bok, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, kom ut i oktober 2009.

_

Relaterat:

Micco på Twitter ___ The Brand-Man på Facebook

This post is also published on Re:Focus.

The visionary’s dilemma

Gästinlägg av Simon Sinek

Let me tell you about my vision. It’s all about the convergence of technology. We’re developing applications that combine any portable device with a desktop computer. Now the nightwatchman can become a world famous recording artist. What we’re doing is better than YouTube and better than anyone else out there. It’s revolutionary!

What you just read is how a visionary mind described his revolution to me – at least what I could understand of it. And that’s the problem.

Visionaries can see a world that doesn’t exist. This is the reason we call them visionary – because they can see into the future. They can imagine products or services not yet invented. They can envision a way of living different to the way we live now. Yet they can’t always get it out in a way that anyone can understand. It’s no surprise most people think so many visionaries are crazy – just listen to what comes out of their mouths. And they always include some coup de grace like how much better their idea is compared to an accepted standard, refer to a huge multi-billion dollar corporation as idiots or say something to do with changing the world.

And I’m sure they could change the world or take down the largest of corporations. If anyone could understand a thing they were saying.

This is the visionary’s dilemma.

A vision, no matter how brilliant, will only ever see the light of day if others, those less visionary, are able to also see the potential. It is a person’s ability to paint a picture of something that doesn’t exist in words so clear that others can clearly picture it themselves without any confusion or uncertainty that matters most. It is at that point that an idea can inspire people to act; to share the idea and to help bring it to reality

There is a simple formula to explain one’s vision in words that can be clearly understood by more than the visionary themselves. No matter the what the vision is, no matter how simple or how complicated the technology, always communicate so that a scientist AND a truck driver could understand you equally. (Note: if you communicate as if you’re a scientist, a truck driver won’t understand you, but if you communicate as if you’re a truck driver, everyone will understand you.)

  1. Words that require thinking should be avoided, words like “convergence” for example. When someone says that in a sentence, I have to furl my brow and really pay attention.
  2. Explain why it matters, not what you’re doing. Who cares if you’re “developing applications for mobile devices blah, blah, blah”, why should I care?
  3. And most importantly, always, always speak as if you’re describing an image. A picture. A scene.

If I were to rewrite the original vision based on these simple steps, it would sound more like this:

I imagine a world in which a couple interested in building a house could take a picture with their phone of a house they like and immediately submit the image to have blueprints drawn up and have architects bid to build that house before they picked up the kids from school.

I imagine a world in which a nightwatchman could use nothing more than his cell phone to record a song he wrote, while at work, with perfect studio quality and post it for the world to hear before he goes home at the end of his shift.

I imagine a world in which our cell phones and our desktop computers become so blurred, that everything you can do with your home computer – I mean everything – you could do with your phone. This is the world that I imagine and I am building. If you can see the impact of what I’m talking about, join me and lets build it together.

Big difference, right?

No big words. I spoke in images not explanations. I described the final images and not the shades of paint that make up those images.

And, after all, it is why you have your vision, not how you intend to create it, that inspires.

Simon Sinek undervisar företagsledare i konsten att inspirera människor. Han konsulterar, skriver och håller tal runt om i världen om kraften i ett tydligt Varför – om syftet, meningen, tron på något som en stark drivkraft hos oss alla. Simons lika enkla som geniala idé, The Golden Circle, är baserad på biologin bakom människans beslutsprocess.

Simon bor i New York, där han undervisar i strategisk kommunikation på Columbia University.
Hans första bok, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, kom ut i oktober 2009.

_

Relaterat:

Micco på Twitter ___ The Brand-Man på Facebook

This post is also published on Re:Focus.