We started our Book Club Discussion Series on Simon Sinek's Finding Your Why.
Ann Link led the discussion by sharing some of the key highlights from the book followed by a lively discussion from our attendees. Sinek and his team have created a framework over the years to help individuals and their organizations find their why. He uses what is called a Golden Circle which he explains in his first book and discusses during his TED Talk - Start With Why.
The book "Finding Your Why" is more of a workshop guide that provides instruction for how readers can find their individual why, their department why or their organizational Why. It also breaks down on the type of people you can bring in to help with this. For individuals, it can be difficult to find your Why on your own and therefore you should include a partner who can help identify themes in your stories to help draft your Why. For organizations, it is recommended to bring in a facilitator in certain scenarios. If you are the facilitator for this exercise, the book provides guidelines for that as well.
For individuals, our Why or purpose in life is fully developed by our late teens and is based on memories of events throughout our lives. After going through the Why exercise, your basic statement will follow a pattern of "To _____ so that _______". This statement will be relevant to your personal life and professional life. We don't have a separate one because our Why is at the core of who we are.
In organizations, you will have an overall why and then you can have what is called nested whys for each department; however, all nested Whys will serve the companies overarching Whys. Sinek and team believe that an individual why must align with a company Why in order for success to take place and for the individual to feel fulfilled. This doesn't mean that a new staff member would create a Why, but rather would need to make sure the Why of the culture fits their current purpose. The Why for a company doesn't usually change, but rather identifies people who fit their Why to help move them forward.
As you work through the exercises to determine your Why and discuss pieces of the Golden Circle, you will learn that What you or the organization offer are your products, services and job functions, the Hows are your values, guiding principles and actions that differentiate us and the Why defines what you and the organization stand for - the collective purpose, cause or belief. The What will be the easiest to understand and the Why the hardest. The What comes from our neo-cortex or the part of the brain responsible for rational, analytical thought and language. The Why corresponds to the limbic brain which is responsible for feelings, but has no capacity for language making it difficult to communicate our Why, so we must pose questions in the form of What first to get there.
If you would like some more information around Simon Sinek's Why philosophy and how to incorporate it into your personal and professional life, please check out the resources below.