How to ‘find your why’ in business

Award-winning motivational speaker Simon Sinek’s latest book Find Your Why is designed to help you find your purpose as a business leader and is a follow up to his international bestseller Start With Why.

The book provides readers with a number of practical guides which aim to challenge them but steer them into knowing their purpose with clarity. We’ve picked out five of the best practical exercises from the book.

Sharing your stories

Sinek explains how each of us has a “why”, and that at its core is an origin story. One of the earliest exercises in the book encourages readers to delve deep into their memory and recount the stories which have shaped them so that they can identify patterns in their life.

He pushes the reader to search for key details in the past and identify their most defining moments. He says: “What is important is the quality of the memory, the specific details you remember and the strong emotions you feel as you tell the story to someone else.” He then encourages readers to share these memories with a partner who will help them identify the important themes in their life.

Drafting your “why statement”

ONE OF the most important exercises in the book involves drafting your “Why statement”. Sinek proposes a simple format comprised of just one easy sentence. But this short sentence is more of a statement, a proclamation of your purpose in life: “To____ so that­______”. This is the basic format of your “Why statement”. Sinek reminds you that the gaps you have to fill in for your “Why statement” will be the most important of your life as they will be at the core of everything you do.

Sinek provides guidance on how to fill in the gaps. The first blank “represents the contribution you make to the lives of others” and the second blank “represents the impact of your contribution”. The book shows how we need to simplify our thoughts in order to be introspective and gives a range of examples to help complete each of the exercises.

“Why” discovery for groups

THE BOOK dedicates a whole section to team building and shows how readers can implement some of the thinking in the book into their organisation. Described in the book as “The Tribe Approach”, it shows readers how to cultivate the culture of purpose among the people they work with.

One group exercise that the book recommends is to get team members into pairs and ask them this question: What has recently made you proud of your organisation or team?

Then give the pairs four to six minutes to tell their stories to each other. The idea of this is to forge a bond between the people in your workforce. The book teaches you that in any successful company the workforce is united in service to a higher purpose. By highlighting the “why” and getting each pair to discuss it, you will evoke an emotional response from each member of your organisation which will connect each employee to the purpose of why your company exists. This emotional connection to the brand is much stronger than any other and will drive your organisation towards success.

Identifying your “hows”

ONE OF the key concepts highlighted in the book is the Golden Circle. The fundamentals of this concept are that it is human nature to go from what’s easiest to understand to what’s hardest to understand. Most of us think, act and communicate in the order of what-how-why. Those with the capacity to inspire do it differently – they think, act and communicate from the inside out why-how-what.

Once you have established your why, the focus turns to the next part of the circle – the “how”, actions we take to bring our “why” to life.

Using the themes in your life you have identified from the “why” discovery process, start to transform them into how statements by focusing on the practical actions you can take to fulfil them on a daily basis.

For example, the theme of optimism can be transformed to the “how” statement, “find the positive in everything”. The book advises you to ensure your “hows” have an emotional connection and to refrain from using “be” verbs as they do less to provoke action.

Sharing your “why”

ONE OF the final exercises encourages you to put together all you have learned through the book and have the confidence to share your “why”. The book asks you to start communicating your “why” statement to people you do not know. At parties, networking events or social settings, when people ask you what you do for a living, rather than just stating what you do, the book encourages you to incorporate your “why” statement into your response.


This article was published in our Business Reporter Online: Future CEO.


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