We know you love TED talks, but don’t always have the time. So you don’t miss out on the good stuff, here’s our quick fix.
What makes a great leader?
Simon wanted to know why some people and brands make history over others who may have more money and resources. What are they doing different?
Start by asking why
There are three questions organizations and their leaders need to answer:
1. What do you do?
2. How do you do it?
And (most importantly):
3. Why do you do it?
Most of us know what we do, and a lot of us also know how we do it. But, Simon found that “few people or organizations know why they do what they do.” According to Simon, all extraordinary leaders start with answering the why, and build from the inside out. As a result, the mission-statement—why they do what they do—is hard-coded into the DNA of their work.
The power of why
What difference does this actually make? The answer is… a lot. Simon says, “people don’t buy what you do—they buy why you do it.”
This is the big reason Apple is so successful – its marketing is built around why it does what it does. Apple tells its audience that “we believe in thinking differently.” It’s a message a whole generation has gotten behind. It just so happens that believing in this vision also means buying iPhones, iPads, and iMacs—because what Apple does is sell computers.
Apple’s competitors don’t seem to provide as strong a why. They focus more on what their products are like and what features they have. They also don’t receive the same adoration as Apple—even though their products are as good, and sometimes better.
The response to why
Connecting through why uses a part of the brain responsible for feelings and decision-making. It makes people feel and believe in what you do. Simon notes, “if you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.” These are the people you want supporting your company from the start.
When you give people a reason for doing what you do, your vision becomes theirs too. This is how great leaders inspire others to, “be loyal and want to be a part of what they do,” according to Simon.
The most successful brands and leaders, regardless of their industry, communicate their message from the inside out. Why you do what you do should be the basis for any organization, movement, or idea, and the how and what will fall into place—that’s what the most extraordinary leaders do.
Like our Ted Talk summary? Check out Amy Cuddy: Your body language may shape who you are and Scott Dinsmore: How to find the work you love.
Written by Martin Douglas Hendry
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