There have been so many things written this past week about Steve Jobs that I was hesitant to write something related to that for my blog. However, I watched a YouTube video recently where author Simon Sinek was describing what made Apple different and why they became the leader in their field. I wanted to share this because I believe it speaks to how we can all become leaders at what we do.
Apple became a leader because they inspired many of us to buy their products. And, they inspired us with the why of what they do – not the how or the what. The why doesn’t mean that they do it to make a profit (that is the result but not actually why they do it). The why is about their purpose; the reason they exist. So we all know what Apple does: they make great computers and technology products. How they create great products is by making them user friendly and well designed. But does that alone inspire us to buy their products? Probably not because I’m sure any other computer company would be able to articulate the same thing. “We make great, well designed, and user-friendly computers”.
What inspires us about Apple is in why they do it – the purpose of their company. Their purpose, as articulated in many different ways by Steve Jobs and numerous other Apple leaders, is to be different and to think different and therefore create a fantastic innovative product for their consumers. They believe in doing things differently and they communicate that message first and foremost. The actual products are simply the proof of their purpose, the result of living that purpose. By believing in doing things differently, they create very unique products. Apple communicates their messages with the why of what and how they do what they do. By doing this and demonstrating that they are living their purpose, they inspire us to purchase their products and they become a leader in that field.
What inspires humans about the why is that it directly corresponds to the part of our brain where we make decisions: the limbic brain. This is the part of our brain that controls all our feelings, emotions, and decision-making. Therefore, by communicating the why first, it touches our emotions and hence, will be more likely to drive behavior. Not to say that the what and the how are not important; they are; however, it is the starting with the why that leads to inspiration and influences behavior.
This is such an important message for any of us looking to lead or who are in any type of leadership role today. What is your purpose? Why are you doing what you do? Communicate the why and you will begin inspiring others to follow you; you will be on your way being not just a great leader but also someone who can truly lead.
To be fully inspired, watch Simon Sinek’s YouTube video: