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Start with Why

How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

By Simon Sinek
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Start with Why gets to the bottom of why certain people and businesses are far more innovative and successful than others – even in situations where everyone has access to the same technology, people and resources. The book shows you how to create a business that inspires customers and has satisfied employees.

Key idea 1 of 8

If you want to motivate others, don’t manipulate – captivate.

At some point or another, every person or organization needs to motivate others to take action, whether it’s to work more effectively, to get involved in a charitable project, to vote for a certain party or to donate to a relief organization.

And yet, most businesses and organizations stick to the same old strategies to motivate their employees: they give them incentives to do something and threaten the ones who don’t with negative consequences. 

On the contrary, good managers who want to get the people around them to take action don’t resort to rewards or punishments: they inspire others, instilling in them the will to take action.

Hence, we don’t follow others for rational reasons, but because we feel compelled to do so. This type of motivation goes much deeper than material incentives. People who are enthusiastic are personally invested and stay that way.

Enthusiastic employees will bring personal resources to the table and sacrifice themselves to achieve the common goal without being prompted. They don’t act for the sake of rewards or incentives, but because they recognize a deeper meaning in their actions. They feel their calling.

Take the Wright brothers, who built the first engine-powered plane in 1903. Unlike their competitors, they had no trained team, no major ties to industry and no financial support. They weren’t motivated by the expectation of becoming rich or famous, but by the mere challenge of making the impossible possible. This devotion was key to their success and gave them the necessary advantage over their competitors.

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