Tag Archives: 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.

_

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?

_

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.

_
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.

_
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.

_

Mer av Simon Sinek på The Brand-Man:

Micco på Twitter ___ The Brand-Man på Facebook

This post is also published on Re:Focus.

It takes two

Gästinlägg av Simon Sinek

Walt Disney was the visionary, the man who took the risk, but his brother, Roy Disney, brought the dream to life.

Martin Luther King was the man with the dream, but it was Ralph Abernathy, a man whose name has been long forgotten, who stood up after Dr. King and told people what to do.

Bill Gates was the Why guy who imagined a PC on every desk. Bill Gates imagined a world in which we would all be able to achieve our true potential. But it was Paul Allen, lurking in the shadows, who knew How to make it happen.

No matter how clear the vision, no matter how high the risk tolerance, a leader is nothing without the first person to stand up and join.

For a movement to grow, for an idea to spread and for a company to become something special – it takes two.

The dancer is Why. The first follower is How. When those two unite – watch What happens.
_


_
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 final score doesn’t matter

Gästinlägg av Simon Sinek

The fans watching the game in a local sports bar in New York went wild. They cheered and celebrated. They couldn’t believe their team had done it. This was possibly one of the great upsets in sports.

An ocean away, fans watching in a pub in London were devastated. How could this have happened? Their team should have won.

And so it was. The final score recorded into history to mark this occasion. 1:1. That’s right, the final score was 1:1 – the US soccer team had tied the British team in the first round of 2010 World Cup. The Americans celebrated the win. The Brits mourned the loss.

But the last time I checked, 1:1 was a tie. There was no winner and there was no loser.

Or was there?

The final score, as it turns out, does not exist in a vacuum. A score may be an objective measurement of achievement, but its value is a relative measurement to our expectations.

An “A” student who gets a B, for example, feels disappointment. A “C” student who gets a B feels ecstatic. Their objective achievement is the same, but their feelings toward their grade, the value of their grade to them, is relative to the expectations others had for them.

This is what happened in the World Cup game. The British were the A students and the Americans were the C students. And in this case – the Americans were able to match the might of the British.

It was, in relative terms, a win.

The definition of ”winning”, then, includes a subjective element – when what we actually achieve surpasses the expectations others think we could achieve. The American team believed they could match the British, even if everyone else thought they couldn’t. Had the American team bought into the expectations others had for them, then their loss would have been inevitable because they would have played believing they had to lose.

Expectations are different from hopes or desires. Expectations are a calculation. They come from the evaluation of data – the British team was much better. They had won more games. Their players were objectively better, and so on. Even if American fans hoped their team would win, based on the data, they didn’t think they could win.

This is what makes the underdog so appealing. What the underdog believes they can do goes beyond what others think they can do. Though we root for the underdog, we still expect them to lose. It’s rational. This is why belief in oneself, confidence, is so important.

Success is when reality catches up to your imagination.

The innovator believes something can be done when others think it can’t. The entrepreneur believes a solution exists for a problem others think unsolvable (if they even recognize the problem in the first place).

And this is why optimists are the most important people of all. They believe every one of us can achieve more than we think we can. They push us and they inspire us. They are able to convert our rational assessment of our abilities (thinking) into drive and passion (belief).

The American coach inspired his team to believe they could do something others thought they couldn’t. All great leaders do. They fundamentally believe in people and what they can do.

As for the lesson: If you’re doing things that everyone around you thinks you can achieve, and all the evidence would support their thoughts, then you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.

That doesn’t mean working towards some ridiculous goal that even you don’t believe is possible. Rational achievement happens based on the score. The feeling of achievement, however, comes when you work to the limit of your own beliefs, and if that limit goes beyond what others think you can do you will feel like you won. Even if you only achieve partial success. Even if you only tie the game, those who didn’t think you could do it will start to believe in you, too.

And when people believe in you, they will rally for you, support you, send resources your way, introduce you to people and help pave the way for you to succeed.

And that’s when objective success is easier to achieve.

Though the facts may remain the same, they will support you for no other reason than they now believe in you and think you can do it, too.

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.

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.

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.