Start with WHY – Simon Sinek

Let me just begin by saying, “Dear Yupi, I am thankful for your effort creating bigger and bigger versions of your hamburgers, hotdogs and cola gummies. You guys are a great company. Don’t you ever forget that”.

Okay, now let’s focus on the second most important thing : I managed to finish another book before the year ends. #ialsoexerciseEverySingleDay #whodis?! #iamonfire

So many people recommended me to read this book, Start With Why by Simon Sinek. The whole book talks about why you should start with WHY and offers you success stories of those (individuals and companies) that achieved great things from doing so.

The main premise is that having a clear WHY get you to discover the HOW and WHAT better. I know it feels like I am just being annoying, toying with 5Ws and 1H questions but I’m really not. Let me explain:

1. Understanding WHY gives you access to people’s incentives

We always assume customers want cheap prices, our employees want higher pay and our friends want us to pay for lunch. Sometimes, these statements are not necessarily true. Maybe the friends part can be quite true. #justkiddingfriends #iloveyoufreeloaders

More often than not, our customers want value, eventhough they might have to pay premium for it. So by understanding WHY they buy from our competitors eventhough our prices are cheaper can get us access to the gems that can help us improve our products rather than keep slashing prices to compete. Understanding that our employees want to work in a place where they can grow and contribute to the cause they can be truly proud of, can breed a sense of belonging instead of trying to bribe them with more money to stay.

Bottom line is: everyone has a button, figure out what that is by asking their WHYs.

2. Clearly communicating your WHY can be the difference maker

I have gotten a lot of coffee favors from people who typically charge per hour for their consultations. All because I shared how their inputs can change the lives of the underserved communities in Southeast Asia when we provide them with access to basic financial helps like savings, microloans etc through Pod. Immediately people want to know how can they help. (Disclaimer: please don’t overuse this tactics as these incredible people have bills to pay and mouths to feed too).

My point is, when a company/ person share their WHY, people who join them are the people who resonate with that WHY too. So they will be more likely to become evangelists of your idea/product. In that way, they are more supportive of your products, more tolerant with your glitches and more emphatic with your setbacks. They will feel like they’re on this journey with you. One of the quotes I like from this books is:

Only companies that act like commodities are the ones who wake up everyday with the challenge of how to differentiate. Companies and organizations with a clear sense of WHY never worry about it

Simon Sinek

3. Consistent WHY creates a legacy

Sometimes we wonder how can a company or a public mission constantly be thriving despite the founders’ departure? Because the strong sense of WHY is the baton that is being passed down from the founder to the successor and the successors after that. I remember walking into Google compound and saw this:

The friendly pet behind me is called Stan.

The simple reason for Stan’s existence on the Google campus is to remind the team that they don’t want to become extinct (like Stan, unfortunately had). So the team at Google are always on their toes innovating within every playing fields they exist in. When people say big companies are like dinosaurs so they can’t move fast, but guess what; if they don’t move fast they’ll be wiped out. This WHY is loud and clear amongst all the Googlers (is that what the Google employees call themselves? Or is that for us, the users of Google? Can someone tell me, I’m confused).

4. The secret is to couple the WHY and the HOW

Having a WHY is not enough if you don’t couple it with the HOW. You need to know what are the next steps to execute on your WHY and gather people who knows the HOW. Plain and simple in theory but in reality, it’s quite tough to find people who shares your WHY and at the same time really know the HOW; and vice versa.

In conclusion, I think everyone should read this book. Period.



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