Start with Why
Author: Simon Sinek
Reviewer: Bronwyn Huband
I joined the NZBWN Book Club with two goals – one to finish a book and second to be able to read something that would challenge me.
Luckily when I turned up to my first book club at Ozone in North London on Sunday I wasn’t the only one to confess to not having quite finished the book and as I am still 15 pages off the end – no spoilers here I promise. If reading a book feels a bit daunting there’s always the audio option or Ted talks to give you an overview.
Simon Sinek’s Start with Why was the very first book read by the book club back in 2015. It was a perfect combination and still is - coffee, brunch and a good honest conversation about a book that aims to give us rich ideas and content to discuss, debate and implement into our lives.
Given so many of us working in roles going through transformation or change, Start with Why is one of those must reads. It really provides the opportunity to stop and think about why you and/or the leadership you work does what they do. It all starts with why.
We agreed a lot of the examples in the book showed it was written over a decade over – hopefully Simon is thinking about an update.
One thing that hasn’t changed, despite the dramatic progress of technology and media, is everything comes back to people. You have to look after your customers, employees, shareholders and any other stakeholder groups – without people you lack the key ingredient to success.
Our discussion focused a lot on what our own why was – for some it was very clear, but for most of us it was either continually evolving or we were trying to figure it out.
We talked around the challenges of the different organisations we work for and understanding their why. Some of the key takeaways we took from the book were:
- It’s important to come back to your why, particularly if you are struggling with what or how.
- While an organisation may have an overarching why, different departments or people may have smaller whys that help the organisation keep its why.
- The book speaks a lot about gut feeling – when an organisation is small decisions are made by the CEO on gut feeling. However the group discussed that while it may feel like gut, it’s still your head making the decision.
- Young people are now driven more by purpose than older generations – the why is a lot more important for them.
- The how and what are just as important as the why – you need them all and you don’t always have to be the person driving the why, but you have to believe in it.
If you have read Starts with Why and you want some guidance on getting your why, Finding your Why, by Simon Sinek, is a recommended read.
The next book on the list is Dare to Lead – check out the events page for more information.