Why do companies like Apple achieve above-average results and how are the employees in this company more innovative than the competition when they basically have the same resources at their disposal? We have done some research on this topic in order to get relevant data that can serve as a guide for you to run a successful business.
The results of the research have greatly changed many people’s views on how the world works, and even the way they participate in it. It turns out there is a pattern for success. Inspirational leaders and organizations act and communicate in the same way, which is not a common practice for all people. Simon Sinek, author of the best-selling book “Why Leaders Eat Last”, calls this way of leadership communication “the golden circle.”
Why? How? What? This circle explains why some organizations and some leaders can inspire others to take certain actions.
Every individual or organization knows what they are doing, what is the business goal they aspire to achieve. Some know how to do it, even though they might have a different name for it – differentiated value, personal action, or their Unique Sales Proposition.
Start with why
However, very few people or organizations know exactly why they do what they do, except when they’re making a strategy for increasing profits. Profit is actually the result and not the cause of engaging in a certain activity.
“Why” is the purpose, the cause, and the belief that makes it easy for you to get up early every morning. Why does your organization exist and why should anyone even care? Inspirational leaders – regardless of the size of the team and the industry, think, act and communicate from the center of this golden circle, that is, they start with the question “why?”.
Here’s how Apple communicates using hierarchically ordered information, starting with the answer to the question why, then how and finally what.
“We believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we change the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
The success of this company is proof that people don’t buy “what you do” – they buy “why you do it”.
“Why” organizations have a purpose
They know what they do is important and why people connect with them. “Why” is the most difficult element to understand both from the perspective of the company and the customer.
“Why” is what great leaders talk about, and it is the force behind their actions. If you believe that your brand represents a multitude of ideas created from values and strong beliefs, then it is a great brand with a clear purpose and reason for existence. You attract people to your goal because people – future customers, employees, partners, volunteers – have similar values and beliefs or are magnetically attracted to your values. This will build trust, make them loyal and ensure that they are brand ambassadors, even when you are not making a lot of money.
“Why” is very often the direct opposite of what everyone else does. The idea that we should follow rules works like a charm for medicine and law, but when it comes to running a business, these examples often directly affect and reduce the chances for innovation.
What makes you recognizable in the sea of other companies is that you believe that you can be better because you have a set of values and beliefs that solve problems that no one else could solve.
Does innovation depend on resources?
Have you heard about Samuel Pierpont Langley? Most people don’t know who he is, although he once received $50,000 to construct an airplane for practical use. Money was not an issue. He worked at Harvard, in the world-famous Smithsonian research complex, and was well connected with the greatest minds in the world back then. He had the best team and the market conditions were fantastic. The New York Times followed him everywhere and everyone was looking forward to his invention.
So how come we’ve never heard of Mr. Langley?
A few hundred miles away in Dayton, Ohio, Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur had no recipe for success. They had no money so they financed their dream of constructing an airplane with the aid of income from their bicycle shop. None of the Wright brothers’ team had a college education, and the New York Times did not follow them anywhere.
However, Orville and Wilbur had the cause, the purpose and the belief. They believed that if they succeeded in their intention, they would change the world. On the other hand, Samuel was looking for a result that was going to make him rich.
On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers’ airplane took off, and the rest is history. On that day, Langley quit his job because he was neither the first one to invent a practical airplane nor did he get rich or famous.
There are also leaders with high positions, power or authority, but also those who really guide and inspire us. Whether they are individuals or organizations, we follow the second type because we want to – not for them, but for ourselves. And those who start with “why” have the ability to inspire people around them to become leaders themselves.