Why Simon Sinek Is Fundamentally Wrong | The Melting Pot Newsletter | #72
WHY SIMON SINEK IS FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard of Simon Sinek. He took the business world by storm in 2009 with his lecture, ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’. This became the 3rd most-watched TED talk of all time. In it, he unveiled his ‘Golden Circle’ with ‘Why’ at its heart. His book ‘Start with Why’ became a best-seller and his views were widely accepted by companies across the globe. An obsession with ‘Purpose’ began.
It is now a mainstream belief that businesses with a strong idea of their core purpose prosper. Other writers have developed this concept, such as David Hieatt in his book ‘Do Purpose – Why Brands with a Purpose Do Better and Matter More’. This is a belief I share. There’s no arguing with the importance of purpose. As MD of two tech companies that grew from zero to £30 million in just 5 years, I’ve seen with my own eyes the difference it can make to a business.
But where I disagree fundamentally with Sinek is his central message of ‘starting with why’. This isn’t where you should start at all.
Owning The Ink In Your Industry
What do you do when the banks foreclose on your $6.5m loans, just as you’re trying to scale your business? And then you endure a very public bankruptcy as the bank wants to show that no one is untouchable? For some people that might be the end of them, for Andy Buyting it was the beginning.
“It feels like I died. And the whole town is showing up for the reading of the will to see what they can get out of it.”
Andy is founder and CEO of Tulip Media, a very successful business combining digital and print media. This idea sprang from the ashes of his former business, Green Village Home and Garden – a home and garden shop in Canada. Like many people and businesses, Andy was hit hard by the global financial crisis of 2007, but he didn’t let it drag him down. Today, alongside running Tulip Media, Andy is also a certified Scale Up coach, sharing over 20 years of sales, marketing, operations, business development and entrepreneurship experience with his clients as he travels across the US and Canada, talking to entrepreneurs about how they can own the ink in their industry.
“My track record speaks for itself. Over 57% of the “for-profit” organisations that I have coached over the past 10 years have gone on to sell for 2x+ industry multiple and often 5-10x founders expectations.”
This is a hugely insightful and honest conversation; we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet, or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live. Business Wars gives you the unauthorized, real story of what drives these companies and their leaders, inventors, investors and executives to new heights — or to ruin. Hosted by David Brown, former anchor of Marketplace. From Wondery, the network behind Dirty John and American History Tellers.
TEAM accomplish more than the sum of its individual parts. This is what’s called the synergistic effect. That is why when bands part ways, individual artists cannot rise to the same popularity as when they belonged to a group. Of course, there are exceptions, but the norm still remains that individuals perform better when they are part of a team. Organizations acknowledge this and are investing in research and development to take advantage of the synergistic effect of teams, and they take pains in screening candidates who are not only competent in what they do but would also fit into the current culture of their teams. And when all the members contribute significantly to the goals of the group, it becomes a high-performance team.
Recently, several federal agencies reported they’re scaling back remote work programs, citing a lack of data regarding remote workers’ effectiveness. “Given our current service challenges and lack of data on [the agency’s telework policy’s] impact on public service,” Social Security Administration spokesman Mark Hinkle told The Washington Post, “now is not the time to experiment with working at home.” And a 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report on federal telework stated that the agencies it studied “had little data to support the benefits or costs associated with their telework programs. All of the selected agencies could provide some supporting documentation for some of the benefits and only two could provide supporting documentation for some of the costs.”
Giving feedback, particularly constructive feedback, is often a stressful task. As counterintuitive as it may seem, giving feedback to a top performer can be even tougher. Top performers may not have obvious development needs and in identifying those needs, you can sometimes feel like you’re being nitpicky or over-demanding. In addition, top performers may not be used to hearing constructive feedback and may rankle at the slightest hint that they’re not perfect.
In his entertaining and informative new book, Sir Clive Woodward analyses the events of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, offering his unique perspective on the performance of players and coaches, from Owen Farrell and Kieran Read, to Eddie Jones and Steve Hansen. This is much more than the story of a tournament, however. It is the distillation of a philosophy of leadership developed during a lifetime in high-performance environments, from the rugby field to the boardroom. Tapping into his experience of winning the 2003 World Cup, being a part of the leadership team that delivered Olympic Success in 2012 and lessons drawn from Japan 2019, the author delivers a go-to manual in how to improve both individual and team performance in order to reach the pinnacle in sport and in business.
Why are some products and ideas talked about more than others? Why do some articles make the most emailed list? Why do some YouTube videos go viral? Word-of-mouth. Whether through face-to-face conversations, emails from friends, or online product reviews, the information and opinions we get from others have a strong impact on our own behaviour. Indeed, word-of-mouth generates more than two times the sales of paid advertising and is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. It is between 8.5 and 30 times more effective than traditional media. But want to know the best thing about word-of-mouth? It’s available to everyone. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company trying to increase sales, a corner restaurant trying to raise awareness, a non-profit trying to fight obesity, or a newbie politician running for city council, word-of-mouth can help you succeed. And you don’t have to have millions of dollars to spend on an advertising budget. You just have to get people to talk. The challenge, though, is how to do that. This book will show you how.
MEANINGFUL ACTION FOR MONDAY
Re-visit your BHAG (or Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Does it make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? This is the acid test. One of my clients recently came up with a fab BHAG. I asked them this question and one of the directors responded, ‘Yes – it terrifies me!’ That’s what you want. A big emotional reaction. Otherwise it’s neither Big, Audacious or even Hairy!