Simon

Sinek

Simon Sinek Career Thought Leader Headshot

Summary

By virtue of his original ideas and “innovative views on business and leadership,” Simon Sinek has become a leader in what he describes as the “help others” industry. He is a source of optimism for many, a bestselling author, and a keynote speaker whose first TED Talk rose to become one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time.

In this seminal TED Talk from 2009, Sinek introduced the world to his concept of WHY. In the years since, his fascination with “how the greatest leaders and organizations think, act, and communicate” has blossomed into his life’s work. Inspired by the Japanese design concept of wabi sabi, Sinek and his team of innovators and master trainers continuously improve themselves while leading the movement to build a more inspired and more inspiring world. Specifically, their goal is to build “a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning inspired, feel safe wherever they are and end the day fulfilled by the work that they do.”

While his focus is not directly on career-related topics, Sinek's gift for articulating simple ideas and concepts in a compelling way is applicable to nearly every industry. Each day, he shares this gift with individuals and organizations around the world through his social media posts, speaking engagements, customized programs, online courses, podcast episodes/appearances, videos, and bestselling books. Regardless of how you choose to interact with his work, Sinek's ideas are sure to provide a thought-provoking experience that leaves you feeling more optimistic and inspired than you did before!

Specialty Areas

Writing

Highlighted Books

As an author, Sinek is devoted to building what he calls the “help others” industry. His bestselling titles feature “his unconventional and innovative views on business and leadership.”

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (2009)

Start With Why is more than just the title of Sinek's first bestseller. It is his suggestion to “anyone who wants to inspire others, and anyone who wants to find someone to inspire them.” In this instant classic, Sinek explains how the greatest leaders and organizations outperform others in terms of inspiration and innovation. Hint: they start with WHY!
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Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t (2014)

In this follow-up to Start With Why, Sinek explores the facets of caring leadership – what it looks like, how it positively impacts people and organizations, and the limitless potential that accompanies it.
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Together Is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration (2016)

Together Is Better is not written in Sinek's traditional style, but his core message remains the same: “We are more likely to overcome our struggles and find what we are looking for when we are willing to take others on our journey.” Whether you are looking for a new way to explore Sinek's ideas or a way to thank someone who has inspired you, Together is Better is the book for you!
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Find Your Why: A Practical Guide For Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team (2017)

Find Your Why is a practical guide that “picks up where Start With Why left off.” Inside, you’ll find original insights, detailed exercises, and specific action steps that Sinek designed to help you uncover, start with, and live your WHY.
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The Infinite Game (2019)

If developing “stronger, more innovative, [and] more inspiring organizations” is important to you, then it is key that you understand The Infinite Game. In this book, Sinek examines how great leaders think to help you adopt an infinite mindset and develop “the resilience to thrive in an ever-changing world.”
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Publishing Outlet

Optimism Press
In collaboration with his longtime publisher, Penguin Random House, Simon created the Optimism Press. This project exemplifies his mission to publish the ideas of “authors who can both inspire us and offer us direction on how to build a world in which people feel inspired, safe, and fulfilled in their professional and personal lives.”

Speaking

Highlighted Videos

If you have a question on business or life, Sinek likely has an answer. His YouTube channel is a source of answers and optimism, brought to you in the form of TED Talks, Q&A sessions, podcast episodes, and career insight shorts that cover a range of important topics in business and leadership. Each week, Sinek shares his latest career insights and findings in 3-5 minute videos. With each video, he hopes to “inspire people to do the things that inspire them.” Sample videos include:

Most Leaders Don't Even Know the Game They're In | Simon Sinek
Length: (18:34)
In this keynote talk, Simon explains how great leaders build healthier organizations by practicing empathy and adopting infinite mindsets.
The MOST Self-Destructive Habit | Simon Sinek
Length: (3:11)
Sinek reflects on comparison in the career context. Learn how to combat this self-destructive habit by shifting your perspective, developing your strengths, and learning from the strengths and successes of others.
The RIGHT Way to Do Work-Life Balance | Simon Sinek
Length: (2:49)
In this career insight short, Sinek discusses work, life, and how to make these two forces more seamless so that “we [can] start to enjoy both more.”
The Celery Test: Put your WHY into action
Length: (3:59)
What does celery have to do with putting your WHY into action? Find out in this video, where Sinek explains the significance of being able to articulate your WHY.

TED(x) Talks

How great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek
Length: (18:34)
With more than 58 million views, Sinek's first TED Talk has grown into “the third most popular TED video of all time.” In it, he introduces the world to his concept of WHY and “explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t.”

Podcasts

Each week, Sinek hopes to leave his listeners with A Bit of Optimism as he talks “with people that inspire [him], about love, life, leadership and silver linings.” Sample episodes include Adam Grant, Brené Brown, and Andy Grammer.

Resources

Courses Offered

Simon offers online courses in two formats: live and on-demand. His live courses range in length from 25-90 minutes and cover topics such as culture, leadership, team building, personal growth, and purpose. For a schedule of these courses, see here. If you’d rather move through course content at your own pace, consider one of his on-demand courses. On-demand courses currently offered include “Find Your WHY” and “The Art of Presenting.”

PERSPECTIVES

The Concept of WHY

Start With WHY

According to Sinek's concept of WHY, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Ultimately, this idea can explain why some leaders and organizations are more inspirational than others, even when the “others” create similar products, do similar work, generate similar ideas, and have access to similar resources as leaders in their fields.

To explain his concept of WHY in more detail, Sinek codified his findings into one simple idea: “The Golden Circle.” Pictured below, “this little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t.”

Sinek's definitions:

WHAT: What you do, or what your organization does

HOW: How you do whatever it is that you do, or how you, as a leader or organization, achieve your WHAT

WHY: “Why [you] do what [you] do;” your purpose, or cause; the underlying belief that drives you to “get out of bed in the morning”

In the words of Sinek, every leader and organization know their WHAT, some know their HOW, and few know their WHY. As a result, most tend to communicate from the outside in. But the most inspiring? They “think, act, and communicate from the inside out.” In other words, the most inspiring leaders and organizations are those who start with WHY. To understand what’s behind this phenomenon, you can look to both Sinek and biology.

In his seminal TED Talk, Sinek explains that “the human brain is actually broken into three major components that correlate perfectly with “The Golden Circle.’” The component that correlates with the WHY just so happens to be responsible for human emotion, decision-making, and behavior. This means that when you start with WHY, “[you] are talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior, and then [you] allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things [you] say and do.” Thus, to increase your impact, inspire others, differentiate yourself, and deliver your message to the part of the brain that is responsible for behavior and emotion, you have to start with your WHY.

Find Your WHY

Finding your WHY is a process – one that requires you to reflect, detect patterns in your life, and rely on a bit of help from people who know you well. For Sinek's guidance as you navigate this process, check out the key resources below.

Live Your WHY

Once you’ve found your WHY, you’re off to a great start! However, this is just the beginning if you want to increase your confidence, stand out in a crowd, seize opportunities, attract others who believe what you believe, find work environments that inspire you, and “live with purpose on purpose.” To reap these benefits of finding your WHY, you must put your WHY into action. To do so, practice:

  • Articulating your WHY with clarity and confidence
  • Repeating and reinforcing your WHY every day
  • Bringing your WHY to the forefront when you are faced with decisions

If you stick to this, “your WHY will [eventually] act as a filter for many of the decisions and choices you make.” In essence, you’ll be living your WHY. While this is not easy, you’ll succeed if you are vigilant, disciplined, and dedicated. In the end, you’ll know it was worth it when you are “better qualified and more importantly, more confident, to choose the careers, choose the jobs, and find the companies that create environments in which [you] are more likely to be inspired and feel fulfilled.”

Sources

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