In yesterday’s post, The Secret to the Success of Apple, MLK and the Wright Brothers, we kicked off a series discussing the revolutionary concept outlined in Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why:
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
While most organizations try to sell people on what they do, the truly inspiring leaders and organizations start with why and invite you to join their cause. (It’s hard to boil an entire book and a concept this big, so read yesterday’s post if you haven’t already.)
If you’re not sold on the idea yet, you’re not alone. It usually takes a bit of processing and discussion before a person buys into it.
Jay Guengerich, a friend of my from back in my Valpo days, is a good example. He posted an excellent comment challenging this idea:
I understand the main idea of the article, and it makes sense, but I disagree with one example. I don’t think most people who buy Apple products do so because they want to help Apple challenge the status quo. I think most people who buy Apple products do so because “it’s the cool thing to do” (status symbol) or because the products are the best fit for their requirements or because the products have a sleek design (artistic/engineering appreciation). Notice I said most, not all.
These are excellent points.
However, think about who considers Apple to be cool and why. It’s predominantly artists, musicians, innovators and younger people – people who “think different” and challenge the status quo. And they think Apple is cool because they share the same beliefs and mindset as Apple.
Chic-Fil-A fans think Chic-Fil-A is cool. Harley riders think Harley is cool. TOMS Shoes customers think TOMS is cool. People who walk 60 miles in 3 days to fight breast cancer think the Susan G. Komen Foundation is cool. The zealots at your church think your church is cool.
Cool = thinks like me.
I agree that sometimes people do buy Apple products because they are the best fit for the requirements (because of the “what.”) An organization’s “why” doesn’t resonate with everyone.
But in the book Sinek talks about how often we think we are buying “the what” – we may even give very rational reasons for why their “what” is best – but beneath the surface there are assumptions made and gut level biases. Part of the reason is because the part of our brain that makes decisions also the part that processes feelings and beliefs whereas rational thought takes place in another part of the brain. It’s quite fascinating!
Have you bought into the idea of starting with why yet? If not, what objections do you have?