“Why” the most important question

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Leaders and those who lead

Who is a leader someone who drives the people, someone who has the charisma, who has the authority and who has the power to influence?

In reality, a person who impels only by these traits is a manipulator.

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it, or you can inspire it.” ~ Simon Sinek

There is a difference between a leader and a person who leads. You can orchestrate people’s mind by using charisma, authority, or extrinsic motivation factors but if you know how to lead you will create intrinsic motivation. You will understand Why you are doing what you are doing. And when you know it then you will become someone who knows how to transcend in things. People will follow you because they have faith in your Why.

I recently read a fantastic book by Simon Sinek “Start with Why.” This book is about the golden circle that Simon has discovered. In this book, he has incredibly explained the difference between a person or a business who is a leader and who knows how to lead.

According to Simon, a person or a firm who wants to be a  leader can sometimes be a manipulator. Such person or business will try to manipulate the mind of the followers by using the authority, power or charisma. Like brands who want to create followers provide them with discounts, promotions, rebate, etc. But brands who constitute their followers like this don’t attain their brand loyalty from the customers. Their purchasers shift when someone offers them a better version of these things. But if a brand creates followers by communicating them Why they are doing what they are doing, then the followers will do anything for the brand. Those followers will never leave the brand no matter whatever the competitor will offer. Similarly, a person who knows how to lead makes you believe in what the person presumes true. And this person has followers who can do anything for that person.

Golden Circle of Simon Sinek

Talking about the golden circle of Simon Sinek it has three parts; what, how and why.

Why is the most important question . Everything should start with why instead of what and how.

What, is about what are you doing. How is about how are you doing it? And the most important part is that Why are you doing it. Mostly we move outside in as we start with what are we doing. Then we proceed towards how are we doing it.  And finally, we think that why are we doing it. But brands or people who know how to become a leader move inside out and start with Why.

That’s why people or businesses who cognize the importance of Why become someone who knows how to lead. Because people will follow you or they will buy your offering with loyalty only if you answer them Why are you doing it. When your belief and their belief synchronize, they will do anything for you. Why should be the first step when you start anything a business, a campaign, any job or anything. But the truth is for most of us What and How are before the Why.

While selecting a job if you are thinking about what you are going to do or how will you execute it then you will probably end in a career which is not of your choice. Or you will become a money machine. And for leaders money is never a motivation it is an outcome. Money is extrinsic motivation. If you are sure about your Why, you will never choose a job that is wrong for you.

Simon Sinek has given some marvelous examples in his book. He quoted a case of Apple as it is a leader. Apple is a leader not because it knows what it is doing or how it is doing, but Apple knows Why it is doing what it is doing. The Why with which Steve Jobs started this company is known to its’s successors and employees.  As the core value of Apple is:

“Apple at the core – its core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”

Apple believes in challenging the status quo it believes in thinking differently by making products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. It’s tagline “think different” is answering it’s Why. It believes that they are fabricating technology that can change the world. And people who want to change the world, who are being credulous in this are the early adopters of Apple. Their core values are that of Apple. People are willing to spend a lot of their time and money in buying the new mobile phones that Apple brings because they believe what Apple believes.

Let’s explain the diffusion cycle to those who are not from a business background. The innovators are the people who are willing to take risks and, they develop the innovation. Then comes the early adopters who adopt that innovation. They are the risk takers. After them comes, the early majority who invests in things by taking reviews from the early adopters, then late majority and afterward laggards will spend their money on your products. According to Simon early adopters are the most important people because the early majority will invest by taking the reviews of the early adopters. And once it becomes a trend, the late majority and laggards will follow it. So the most crucial thing is to convince this 13.5 % of people to buy your product.

Early adopters are the people who believe in your why.

These early adopters are willing to take the risk because they believe in what you hold. If you don’t communicate your Why to the early adopters, you cannot convince them, and your product will become a failure.

Same is with leadership. The followers who are the first one to follow you are the ones who believe in what you have faith in, and that’s why they are willing to do anything for you. The later followers follow the footsteps of the early adopters.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Simon Sinek

Take the example from the history of the political parties of Pakistan. There are three major parties in Pakistan right now; PTI, PMLN, and PPP. Pakistan People Party came up with a slogan of Roti, Kapra or Makan (it means food, clothing, and shelter). They were clear about their Why. The people who followed PPP believed in what Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was saying. Bhutto knew how to lead. That’s the reason Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is still remembered as the prodigious leader of Pakistan. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was clear about Why he is doing what he is doing.

If we talk about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the leader is clear about his Why that he wants to bring what he called “Tabdeli” that means change. Pakistan has suffered a lot in the past because of the corrupt leaders. So, a lot of people follow him because they believe in what he believes. That’s why when we talk about Imran Khan we think of him as a person who knows how to lead.

But when we talk about Pakistan Muslim League (N), we don’t know their Why. We can recall their promises that they have made, but that is their how and what that is not their Why. PMLN don’t know why they are doing what they are doing. The only famous slogan that PMLN raised was “vote ko izzat do.” It is funny in itself because people can give respect to the vote by casting it against you. People can use their right of electing a democratic government against you. Democracy was saved but their government was removed. That’s what happens when your Why is not clear. That is the reason that why nobody can be considered as a leader from PMLN because they don’t know how to lead.

All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.” ~ Simon Sinek

The dilemma with our political parties is that their founders know why they are making a party, but they don’t communicate their Why to their successors.

Like this question arise in our mind that what will happen to PTI if Imran Khan is no longer there. We don’t believe that there is someone else in the party who believes in Tabdeli so much like Imran Khan does. That’s what happened to PPP after Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto left, Benazir was also following his Why but after her departure from this world Why party was formed was forgotten. That’s the reason why we lost the leaders in that party. That’s mainly because the antecedent failed to communicate their Why to their descendants.

Leaders who don't know their why are not able to lead.

Nawaz Sharif had the power, he had the authority, but he didn’t know how to lead. Because Nawaz knew what he is doing and how he will do it, but he didn’t know Why is he doing it. The “Why” which we can conclude from his life is money. A leader who wants to get only fame and money ends in a situation like him. Because if your followers come to know that you are doing it just for the money, they will not work with their sweat, tears, and blood for you.

People don’t buy what you do people buy why you do it ~ Simon Sinek

That’s what happened to Walmart. When Sam Walton was present, he made an incredible store with the vision of providing great value and excellent customer service. His employees know what his Why is and they worked for what Sam believed. But after his death, Walmart worked only on increasing its profits by selling products at a lower cost and made this the motivation for its customers. To lower their price, Walmart adopted some very inhumane practices which led the organization to pay hefty fines and has polluted its image. People buy from Walmart not because they are brand loyal but because they are saving their money. If another store provides the same services at lower costs, they will shift to the other company. Because the organization is not motivating, it’s buyers intrinsically.

So to lead you should be clear about your Why and you should communicate it to the followers. Then people will follow you wholeheartedly. If your Why and the Why of your followers is the same, then they will be ready to work for you with their blood, tears, and sweat. And if you only provide them with an extrinsic motivation like money than they will shift if someone offers them a better package than yours.

You don’t hire for skills; you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills. ~ Simon Sinek

If your employees believe in your values, then they will work for you in all sincerity. Because the employees will be intrinsically motivated to achieve the goal as they will consider it their goal.

Let’s quote a fascinating example from Simon Sinek book where he has explained about Samuel Pierpont Langley who was given a lot of funding for making the first machine that can make the humans fly. He had a specialized degree he had a workforce of people who were extremely intelligent, and he was being covered by the media. On the other hand, Wright Brothers hold no specialized degree, had zero funds, were doing it in no equipped labs, had no unique workforce, and there were no media to broadcast their journey. Still, Wright Brothers did it because they were doing it out of the passion. They knew Why they are doing it.

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” Simon Sinek

Wright Brothers had a team who was doing it not for money but for the same purpose that was of Wright Brothers. It made them invent something revolutionary that gave humanity the wings. They made the human fly for the first time instead of Langley because they started with Why instead of what and how.

Wright brothers did it because they started with why.

“Let us all be the leaders we wish we had.”  ~Simon Sinek

You will never fail in life if you start with a Why. My teacher once asked the class what do you believe? What do you want to do? I raised my hand as I was very excited to tell my answer because I knew it. He asked me to explain what you believe and what you can do. I said I want to do something that leaves an impact, something that creates a change.

He said do you know in what field. I said marketing, or no I think entrepreneurship or I don’t know, in which area. But I will do it someday. That’s my aim that’s what I believe. Whenever I do something I ask myself will it help me to create a change and every time I get my answer. It helps me to find out either the thing is right for me or not. Ask yourself what your aim is? Why are you doing what you are doing? And trust me if you know it the journey to get what you believe, will start. And if you don’t know it or if money is your aim you will keep running in a race which will have no end. Thus always start everything with a Why instead of what and how because Why is the most important question.



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