Inspiring Leadership – Simon Sinek

Any business planning to effect a change in the culture of their organisation has to have a plan of action and a desired outcome.

Whether the intention is to make staff more productive, more engaged, more loyal or all of the above, the key, according to Simon Sinek in his inspirational Ted Talk ‘How great leaders inspire action‘, is to introduce a simple shift in mindset.

Simon Sinek, an author, speaker and management and leadership consultant, explains why industry giants such as Apple have managed to achieve massive success in their market, despite in effect being not that different in terms of offerings from their less well performing competitors. Drawing from history, Sinek further points out the longevity of the fame and historical acclaim afforded the Wright brothers, even though they weren’t actually as well funded as some others trying to achieve man-powered flight. Martin Luther King Jnr. is also alluded to. He became the leader of the American Civil Rights movement, but was he the best orator? The most discriminated against? According to Sinek, none of the above was a factor that made Martin Luther King great. But “something” did.

And that “something” is what differentiates these successful people and organisations from the rest. It’s the one thing they have in common. They all thought, acted and communicated in a completely different way to everyone else. As businesses and individuals, we can leverage Sinek’s discoveries by first considering three simple concepts: why, how what. And the key is to really and truly understand and define the “why”.

Every business knows what they do. It’s the product or service they offer to their customers, clients or audience. It is also usually easy to define how it is done – your production process, for instance. What is more difficult yet of utmost importance is the “why”. So the thrust of this Ted Talk is to urge businesses to start by understanding and clearly communicating their raison d’être (hint: making a profit is not a true “why” – it’s merely a result), and work outwards from there to figure out how they can fulfil this and what the end result will be.

The success of this unique way of thinking hinges on the premise that people don’t buy “what” you do – they buy “why” you do it. So using an example from the video, people purchase Apple products because everything that company does “challenges the status quo” – they believe in doing things differently. People buy into that belief and it becomes slightly less important that the way they do this – the “how” – is to produce beautifully well-designed and user-friendly products, which then results in the “what” – they happen to make great computers.

So whether you’re an existing Allsquare client or just at the initial stages of setting up a new business, this is definitely a video to watch. Adjust the way you, your partners and staff think, and rather than focusing initially on “what” your business is going to produce and how that will happen, think about why you want to start the business, why it matters and why anyone should care. According to Simon Sinek, the rest will follow.

Here are Allsquare’s three key principal business concepts which help us to support our clients as they grow and succeed:

Why: We believe your accountant should be easy to work with, providing practical business advice and helping your business succeed. Too many accountants are just about expensive accounts and tax returns and not about your business growing and succeeding.

How: By nurturing the skills and qualities in our staff that will help our clients achieve success.

What: Professional, high quality accountancy services that pay for themselves with increased business success.

Allsquare are professional accountants in Edinburgh offering financial and business services to help small to medium companies with business growth strategies. For more information, call Allsquare today on 0131 343 1510.