What makes a company great? It isn’t just profitability or growth. There are many companies that achieve both of those, yet still remain mired in negativity or conflict. And, what makes a great leader? It isn’t just managerial skills, it’s something that goes beyond, something that inspires and resonates with people – especially customers.
In this TED Talk, Simon Sinek attempts to answer the question of ‘why’ and explain how great leaders inspire action. His concept: the golden circle. At the center of the golden circle is the answer to the ‘why’ question.
Every organization knows ‘what’ it does, but very few know ‘why’. Making a profit isn’t enough to answer ‘why’ – profit is a result, not a purpose. The ‘why’ needs to focus on the purpose, the cause, and the beliefs. It should be why we get out of bed in the morning and attempt to make a difference in the world. People don’t necessarily buy ‘what’ you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Start by asking students to define what makes a company great. Ask students if there are companies that they will not shop at – and ask why. On the other side, ask if there are companies that they will shop at – and ask why. What makes these companies different?
- Discuss the importance of leadership in organizations and how having a clear mission, vision, and values impacts organizations.
- Show the video: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
- Following the video, divide students into teams. Have each team review the mission/vision/values of an organization of their choosing. (Good companies for this are Tom’s Shoes, Warby Parker, and Quirky.)
- Next, have the teams write mission/vision/values for a new company.
- Write the statements on the board and discuss the implications to the organization and to its customers.