How to inspire action

In a very interesting 18-minute Ted Talk, Simon Senek explains that there are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, while those who lead inspire people. People follow these leaders not because they have to but because they want to. (And customers buy from the people and companies that begin their messages with the ‘Why’ of what they do.)

True leaders think, act and communicate in the same way, which Senek explains with a ‘golden circle’ of ‘Why’, ‘How’ and ‘What’. Most people know the ‘Whats’, some know the ‘Hows’, but only inspirational leaders know and communicate the ‘Whys’. (The ‘Why’ is the purpose, as explained in Chapter 11 under the ‘What To’ key.)

To be an inspirational leader, you need to begin with the Whys so that people understand and believe in your message. For example, begin with the ‘why’, the purpose, of what you do, of what your organisation does or of task your are delegating to a team member.

Discussion questions

Which are you—a leader or someone who leads? When you’re at your best, how do you lead?