Start with Why to figure out How to do What

Simon-Sinek-Start-with-WhyAs part of a leadership program that I’m supporting, called the Integral Business Coalition, I was recently introduced to Simon Sinek’s work known as Start with Why. The lead facilitator, Brett Thomas, co-founder of the Stagen Leadership Academy, presented Start with Why  as a powerful framework that people interested in making a positive impact in the world should deeply internalize and put into practice. Sinek’s message is striking a chord in the hearts of leaders around the world as purpose is becoming an increasingly important value even, dare I say it, more than money. For this reason, it’s not surprising that Sinek’s TED talk (posted below) has become one of the most popular reaching more than 11 million views at the time of writing this blog.

The Golden Circle, as Sinek calls its, addresses the most basic trajectory that someone interested in accomplishing something in the world needs to contemplate. In considering leadership from the inside out, this framework explains that we must start with Why to figure out  How we are going to do What . These key areas can be defined as follows:
  • WHY – this is the reason the leader or organization exists. It is the purpose, cause or belief defining their pursuit.
  • HOW – this speaks to the approach or method used to fulfill the essential why of the leader or organization.
  • WHAT – this points to the practical steps taken by the leader or organization to carry out its purpose.
Sinek also stresses the importance of considering the context for why we are doing something. He suggests that we should clearly define the beliefs about our worldview in relation to the initiative that we are undertaking. As an example of contemplating the Why, How and What as well as stated beliefs, I offer Actualizing Self as a case study:

Why do we exist?

  • Actualizing Self exists to bring together a community of leaders dedicated to moving beyond basic survival needs in the pursuit our higher aspirations towards self-actualization.

How do we accomplish this?

  • We promote ideas, tools, and practices for self actualizing individuals passionate about peak performance, optimal living and lifestyle design both personally and professionally.

What is our basic product/service?

  • We write blogs and newsletters, host virtual events featuring thought leaders, and share best practices for actualizing self through the areas of purpose, vocation, leadership, productivity, mindfulness, fitness, nutrition and money.

What do we believe about our marketplace?

  • We believe that deeper fulfillment comes about through self-actualization in both our personal and professional lives.
  • We believe all people have the ability to enter into a state of flow when aligned with a higher sense of meaning and purpose.
  • We believe there is limitless human potential that can be released through dedicated physical, mental and spiritual practice

Whatever your initiative, I strongly encourage you to take sometime to contemplate the Start with Why framework. For more nuance as to the power of starting with why, definitely take a few moments to watch Sinek’s talk on TED here:



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