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Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team Paperback – September 5, 2017
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About the Author
SIMON SINEK is an optimist, teacher, writer, and worldwide public speaker. His first three books - Start With Why, Leaders Eat Last, and Together is Better - have been national and international bestsellers. His first TED talk, based on Start With Why, is the third most-viewed TED video of all time. Learn more about his work and how you can inspire those around you at StartWithWhy.com.
PETER DOCKER is a former senior Royal Air Force pilot turned leadership consultant and executive coach.
DAVID MEAD has presented to over 80 organizations in a wide variety of industries and co-hosts the Start With Why podcast.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
FOREWORD by Simon Sinek
Fulfillment is a right and not a privilege. Every single one of us is entitled to feel fulfilled by the work we do, to wake up feeling inspired to go to work, to feel safe when we’re there and to return home with a sense that we contributed to something larger than ourselves. Fulfillment is not a lottery. It is not a feeling reserved for a lucky few who get to say, “I love what I do.”
For those who hold a leadership position, creating an en-vironment in which the people in your charge feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves is your responsibility as a leader. For those who work for an organization that does not leave you feeling inspired at the beginning and end of every day, you must become the leader you wish you had. Regardless of our rank in the organiza-tion, every single one of us has at least one colleague, client or vendor for whom we can take some responsibility for how they feel when they work with us. The goal is not to focus on what’s standing in your way; it is to take steps that will have a positive and lasting effect on everyone around us.
The concept of WHY is a deeply personal journey born out of pain. I discovered the idea at a time when I had lost any passion for my work. The advice people gave me wasn’t helpful either: “Do what you love,” “Find your bliss,” “Be passionate.” All accurate—but totally un-actionable. I agreed with all the advice in theory, but I didn’t know what to change. I didn’t know what to do differently on Monday. And that’s the reason the WHY has been and continues to be such a profound force in my life. Not only did discovering my WHY renew my passion, it gave me a filter to make better decisions. It offered me a new lens through which I would see the world differently. And it was through this lens—to inspire people to do what in-spires them so that together each of us can change our world—that I started preaching the concept of WHY and the Golden Circle. And people listened. In fact, people did more than listen, they joined me in preaching this mes-sage, sharing the vision. And our movement was born.
The TED Talk I gave in 2009 helped spread the idea to more people, and my first book, Start with Why, made the case for WHY in much greater depth. People and organizations who know their WHY enjoy greater, long-term success, command greater trust and loyalty among employees and customers and are more forward-thinking and innovative than their competition. The concept of WHY and the Golden Circle became a huge piece of the puzzle to advance this world I imagined. But there was a problem.
Though I was able to make the case for the existence and the power of WHY, and though I could help some people and organizations discover their WHY, I wasn’t able to get to or help as many people as we needed to if we are to have an impact in lots of people’s lives. My team built upon what I started. They made my process even better. They started helping people. They even developed an online course to help people discover their WHY. But even that wasn’t enough.
That’s the reason this book exists. If Start with Why makes the case for the WHY, Find Your Why provides the steps to show people how to actually do it. And just as Start with Why illustrates, though I may be the guy with the idea, I don’t know how to bring it to life at scale. That’s where David and Peter come in.
Peter Docker and David Mead joined me on this journey because they were inspired by the world I imagined. Both have a unique skill set to help bring my vision—our vision—to reality. I may have figured out how to help one person learn their WHY, but it was David and Peter that figured out how to help a room of sixty people, for example, find their WHY.
David knows how to make things work. Years ago, inspired by one of my talks, he started developing work-books and building training programs to help the people at his then-company. He did this without ever asking me or anyone else for help. Once I got wind of what he had done, I was blown away by how deeply he understood my ideas and his ability to put them into practice.
Peter retired from the Royal Air Force and wanted to continue a life of service in the private sector. He discovered my work and reached out to simply say how much it inspired him. He has combined my ideas with work he was already doing to amplify its impact. Soon after we met, he started mentoring folks on our team just out of the good-ness of his own heart. His work was so good that we started using many of his ideas to help build our company and grow our movement.
Both eventually joined our team and a deep friendship formed between the two of them. Their collective genius has taken my work and made it even better. So when the opportunity came to write a follow-up guide to Start with Why, I turned to David and Peter to help. These guys are the “how” to my “why.” And I love that our movement has given them the ability to share their expertise with so many more people.This book has been years in the making. Peter and David have traveled the world to talk about the WHY and work closely with individuals and organizations to help them understand, discover and use the concepts. They have heard the questions, discovered the roadblocks and found better and better ways to advance the vision. And that’s where you come in.
If we are to profoundly change the way in which the business world works, if we help organizations create cultures in which trust and cooperation are the norm rather than the exception, if we are to build the world we imagine, we will need help. Lots of it. Though the work my team is doing is making a dent, we alone will be unable to create the kind of change necessary. It will take an army.
David and Peter wrote this book to be a practical guide. A complete self-contained handbook that gives any person the pieces they need to discover and articulate their WHY. We designed the book with lots of space in the margins so that you can take notes along the way. Fill in the blanks, dog-ear the pages, highlight as you go. Don’t be precious about it.
Find Your Why is a journey. Though all the how-to steps may be in the book, it’s going to take work and patience to really get it. Remember, this book is a guide. Follow the steps, learn the concepts and absolutely tweak as you go to make the process your own. If you find something that works better for you, do it!
Think of this book as the gun that fires at the beginning of the race. That bang fills you with excitement and energy as you set off. But it is the lessons you will learn as you run the race—as you learn to live your WHY—that will inspire you and show you what you are capable of. And remember the most important lesson. The goal is not simply for you to cross the finish line, but to see how many people you can inspire to run with you.
There is an entire section in the bookshop called “self-help,” but there is no section called “help-others.” This is what we are all doing together—we are pioneering the help-others industry. For all of the people who want to learn their WHY, who want their companies to start with WHY, who want to help others find their WHY . . . for all of the people who want to help build a world in which the vast majority of people wake up inspired to go to work, to feel safe when they are there and to return home fulfilled by the work they do . . . I say welcome. The more of us who raise our hands and say, “Count me in,” the greater the chance that we will build the world we imagine. You in?
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The man has a theme. He calls it the Golden Circle: Why—How—What. Why is the reason. How is the means. What is the result. They all have to be in balance, driven by the why, and when they are, you will achieve authenticity and success.
The theme hasn’t changed. In terms of the Start with Why concept itself, you’ll find little new here. Find Your Why is a how-to. Sinek and his team, Peter Docker and David Mead, and Docker and Mead in particular, provide a detailed guide to defining and sharing the why, how, and what within an actual organization, using the process they have refined through extensive use to help companies apply the original Sinek concept. (There is a refresher for those who haven’t read Start with Why or viewed the Ted talk.)
As the authors state, “That’s the reason this book exists. If Start with Why makes the case for the WHY, Find Your Why provides the steps to show people how to actually do it.” And it does a good job at achieving that goal.
To those who have been in the organizational world for a while, a lot of this will sound a lot like past initiatives to define mission, values, strategy, and tactics, or some combination of those concepts, however you define them. The Start With Why Team, as they refer to themselves, openly discusses that later in the book.
The language is different. And so are the priorities and the focus. Values, as most organizations define them, and as the Why Team points out, are really just ideals. They aren’t actionable. And they’re right.
It would be a disservice, therefore, to characterize the Why program as more of the same, either more of the 2009 TED talk or more of the overlapping programs many other consultants have promoted over the years. This is more than just another of the 32 flavors of Colgate toothpaste that Sinek refers to in Start with Why. And that’s because he always goes back to why. And that’s the magic.
So, if you are responsible for developing engagement, strategy, or similar programs for your company, I would consider this a must read. If that’s not what you need, there is still plenty of value to the book. Sinek and his team are clearly impassioned. The writing is very fluid. And when it comes to WHY, you can’t get too much of a good thing.
This book is directed at addressing that gap.
The book is rather short, and an easy read. In essence, its message is:
1. There are two kinds of why discovery processes - one for individuals and one for groups
2. Both of them work the same way: look to your formative experiences and figure out the themes, and what was significant. Then distill that into your 'why'.
The authors provided a fairly high level process for doing that.
INDIVIDUALS: FINDING YOUR WHY
I think overall the book follows a good approach for helping you find your purpose or 'why.' I did feel though that the nuts and bolts of the process could have been further elaborated in parts of the individual 'why' discovery process, with additional questions and exercises to help guide people through the process.
ORGANISATIONS: FINDING YOUR WHY
The book provided a good run-through of the steps of facilitating a purpose-discovery workshop.
I think that there are other books that go into greater depth around the processes of finding your individual why and the process of finding an organisation or group's why. But this book is a good starting point.
If you are completely new to 'finding your why' this book provides a short, accessible guide to how to do that and the process is solid.
If you are looking for more depth around your why, you may find exploring other treatments of this topic provide greater depth and additional perspective.