Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek
The Value-Add of this Book
Loyalty from Customers, Investors and Employees.
This book is great for any entrepreneur or business owner who is struggling with developing the loyal relationships we all need with our customers, investor base and employees. The value that I pulled from this book was the compare and contrast of companies like Apple and Southwest Airlines to other companies (TiVo for example) that, while they have great products, struggle to build that same deep allegiance that a company like Apple has been able to foster both internally and externally. I imagine that you have heard of the concept of building your following of 1,000 true fans. Beyond fans, you know the importance of having great employees and loyal investors (capital sources) who believe in the mission of your business. This book will help you attract the loyalty of all of those groups.
Be a “Why” Type Person
Be a “why” type person v. a “how” or “what” type person. The general principle here is that it is not what your business does that attracts clients and investors but why you do it. Southwest Airlines became the champion of the common man, not a discounted airline, at a time when it’s real competition was buses and trains, not other airlines. Apple went into business to appeal to the “crazy ones”, not to make computers. Apple and Southwest Airlines have been successful because they told people “why” they did what they did versus explaining to them “what” they did.
How to Make Better Hires
Hire for attitude, not skills. I have seen this mistake on many occasions. At my first law firm, I consistently saw people get hired in large part based on the law school they went to. People who looked great on paper because of their Ivy league education often quickly fizzled out. The reason for this was more often than not a result of attitude. Most typically, it was an attitude of entitlement. This book makes you stop and ask yourself about the people you are working with and bringing into your business a key question: Why do they want to be here?
How You Will Benefit
Life is just better if (1) you run a business with a purpose that you believe in and (2) when you are surrounded with people that you want to be around. Money is a great mission, but it is usually just a side product of doing things that you would do for free anyways. All of this alignment can fall into place most easily when you, your business and your team have a shared mission. This book will help you all define that mission.
A quick story: A great lawyer I used to work with had what he called “The Airport Test”. I do not know if he invented it or heard it someplace before. Regardless, the Airport Test is this: Is the person I am hiring someone I would be OK spending eight hours in an airport with or would I go crazy being around them? Always an interesting question to ask yourself.