A Great Question to ask ALL the Time – WHY?

Hola Todos!

We live in a fast paced world and way too many times we just DO without thinking.  It’s easier to just DO things the way they have always been done OR what politically causes the least amount of scuttle bucket in the office.  Very few of us, however, have the presence to ask WHY on a continual basis.  WHY is a fundamental question – a gut check – to mentally challenge the status quo.

In Mike’s post this week, he touches on this topic of WHY along with the WHATs and the HOWs.  There’s an excellent Apple example about half-way through that can’t be missed.


Dr. Dan-o


To:  The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

In a September 2009 presentation recently posted on TED Simon Sinek, marketing consultant and author of Start with the Why, shares his concept of the ‘Golden Circle.’  He asks why some people or organizations achieve things, while others don’t when they are seemingly the same with respect to talent, knowledge and resources.

The answer he found rests in the way these people and organizations act and communicate: “They all think, act and communicate in the same way.  And it’s the complete opposite to everyone else”.  He explains this process with his ‘Golden Circle.’ ‘What’ (the product/service/deliverable) is the outer circle, ‘How’ (the value proposition) is the center circle and ‘Why’  (the cause) is the inner circle. Relating each circle to how the brain operates he says the outer circle, the ‘what’, relates to our analytical/rational thought, while the two inner circles relate to our feelings (e.g. “trust and loyalty”).  This idea, he says, “explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t”. He uses Apple as an example to demonstrate his point:

“If Apple were like everyone else, a marketing message from them might sound like this. “We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. Want to buy one?” Neh. And that’s how most of us communicate. That’s how most marketing is done. That’s how most sales are done. And that’s how most of us communicate interpersonally. We say what we do, we say how we’re different or how we’re better and we expect some sort of a behavior, a purchase, a vote, something like that… But it’s uninspiring.

“Here’s how Apple actually communicates. “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?” Totally different right? You’re ready to buy a computer from me. All I did was reverse the order of the information. What it proves to us is that people don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it. People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

Applying this idea to business he says: “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”  This is the magical connection with great, inspirational leadership.  The people whom great leaders serve don’t buy ‘what’ they do; they buy ‘why’ they do it. It’s an emotional connection beyond the rational and analytical. Sinek writes:

“…those who lead inspire us. Whether they’re individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves.”

This week, think, act and communicate differently – start from the inside out. Let people understand your ‘why’ – your cause, purpose and belief – that they might see and “believe what you believe.” And when the people you serve believe what you believe, they will change the world with their fire and passion, and your “Golden Circle’ will glow.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!



Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528; (Mobile) 908.419.6060

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu

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