Did Simon Sinek get it wrong?

Yes and No!
The power of purpose, the power of why is fundamental to our legacy, our leadership and our day to day living. Those that have it are driven, have a pull that creates its own powerful momentum and almost creates a life of its own. I mean, all we need to do is reflect on something that means so much to us and we all know what I mean.

However Simon’s Golden Circles are missing something fundamental – the real catalyst for change.

For many of us we will set goals and visions and get really clear on our outcomes. It must be the first step. The outer circle. We set our compass and start on our journey by getting clear on WHAT it is we want.

Next, we get clarity on HOW we get there. We brainstorm, we do trainings, we read and research and get all the left brain stuff happening.

But… that’s when many people stall and even stop in their quest to succeed. The mantra many entrepreneurs live by is “Say yes, and figure out how later” and they never quite seem to figure it out and act. Why?

Well as Simon so eloquently phrases it, they don’t have their purpose – their powerful WHY.

Some people just can’t stop smoking even though they know they’ll die, there is not enough leverage. Some people can’t just become ‘like the successful people’ with the click of their fingers as that too has no leverage. Some teams just can’t align and play in sync even though that’s their differentiating factor, because there may be no real leverage.

Simply put, many people can’t get past the status quo for many reasons – the main one, being their fear of change, regardless of how big their WHY is. We’ve all been there. We have all had a powerful purpose to create change in and around us and yet, something has stopped us in our tracks.

Recently I sat in a boardroom with a sales director and we discussed his team’s performance and lack of performance and what needed to change. We talked KPI’s and milestones, tactics and strategies and as the conversation got deeper, he proudly and passionately pointed to a framed print on the wall showing their powerful ‘corporate why’ in one short succinct sentence almost as though they had now ticked all the boxes and would set the world on fire. And so I asked him some more questions:

– Who do your team need to become individually, to collectively live that ‘why’?

– Who are the customers you have who will appreciate that particular ‘why’?

– Who are your customer’s buying in this connection economy – your people or the competition?

As Reece Witherspoon shared on addressing her fear of speaking in front of an audience, (acting on screen apparently is totally different than speaking in front of a live audience) “Because of this experience, I know that if I want to do things that matter, I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I worked through my fear because I put myself in a difficult situation over and over again until my anxiety subsided.” whilst she had her powerful ‘why’ she needed to address another level down to truly succeed – WHO she needed to become.

‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’ may be very true but to share that ‘why’ in a compelling commercial manner, the person sharing it has to have a real level of conviction, the ability to share the message within a commercial and relevant context and have an intention to contribute to that customer. They need to own their own value and bring that value to the table.

I believe, the WHO is the missing circle in Simon’s Sinek’s model.

The Wright Brothers succeeded not just because of their ‘why’ but because they were prepared to be who they needed to be and do what it took to live that ‘why’. Their supportive home life gave them a strong sense of self belief which in time allowed them to stand up against the theories of more experienced aeronautical experiments. To choose not to marry so they could live their purpose and make the world a smaller place says a lot about WHO they were and were prepared to not be. Their sense of resilience and confidence enabled them to keep on going when they were faced with sceptics, critics and nay-sayers and their resourcefulness stood them in good stead when failure struck, as it did again and again.
The ChangeMaker Circles

To create real long term and sustainable change, we need to start with the outside circles of WHAT, we then learn HOW, we get clear on our WHY and ultimately we must look at WHO we need to be to stand up and be counted so we can move back out of the circles by living our WHY, doing what we know HOW and achieving WHAT we want to achieve.

Who do you need to be to own your value, live your purpose and achieve those results that matter the most to you?


Be Bold and Brilliant!

Bernadette McClelland - Keynote Speaker

If you enjoyed this article then please give it a ‘thumbs up’, share on your social media platforms or ‘Follow Me’ above. As a sales leadership consultant, please let me know if I can help you, your team or your business bridge the gap between your corporate goals and revenue potential. Available for Sales Meetings and Kickoffs.

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