Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

by | May 29, 2017 | Business Foundations, Growth & Sustainability Strategy, Personal Development | Mindset | 0 comments

Episode 4 Show Notes

Last year, I told myself that I didn’t have time to read books anymore and started listening to audiobooks.  But that didn’t cut it for me. I missed the experience of holding the book, turning the pages, highlighting and taking notes, and just the feeling of sitting down and taking in a good book.  I realized that my problem wasn’t that I didn’t have time to read books, rather I chose not to make time.  I’ve since created a time for reading in my schedule and I’ve read so many good books this year that I plan to share with you.  In this episode, I am sharing my review and response to Simon Sinek’s Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.  Of all the books I’ve read this year, this is the one that has sparked the most conversations.

If I were to summarize the primary lesson that Sinek wants his audience to take with them after reading Start With Why, I would say that it’s to understand that businesses and brands that win in the marketplace long-term and build loyalty among their customers and team members are the ones that start with why as opposed to beginning their conversation with what they do and how they do it. 

Manipulation vs Inspiration

Sinek explains that there are two ways to influence human behavior and that is either through manipulation or inspiration. The word manipulation carries a connotation that is slightly negative but it’s not necessarily coming from that place. Sinek defines manipulations as a way to influence behavior in a business’s favor through tactics such as price, promotions, fear, aspiration, novelty, innovation, or peer pressure. He says, “When companies or organizations do not have a clear sense of why their customers are their customers, they tend to rely on a disproportionate number of manipulations to get what they need.”  Sinek discusses each type of manipulation in detail, but the one that stuck out to me most was price because I teach about the importance of thinking long-term when it comes to your business and pricing (see Episodes 001 and 007).  Sinek likens selling based on price to an addictive habit because “the short-term gain is fantastic, but the more you do it, the harder it becomes to kick the habit.”

Avoid the downward spiral of price addiction and keep in mind your long-term vision for your business.  Price is a manipulation that has a short-term reward and while manipulations work and can be useful in becoming successful, there are four trade-offs to keep in mind:

  • ✔️ Manipulations don’t breed loyalty
  • ✔️Manipulations cost you more over time
  • ✔️The gains are only short-term
  • ✔️They increase the level of stress to both the buyer and seller

The danger in manipulations is that they actually work and the fact that they work pushes businesses to continue using them because of the results they see, but they don’t take into account those negative trade-offs.  We all use manipulations in some form or fashion, but if you want to stand out as a business, don’t let them become your norm.

Inspire By Starting With Why

The alternative to manipulation to affect human behavior is inspiration and it’s what makes the difference.  Leaders who choose to inspire operate differently.   The why is your purpose, cause, and belief.  We very rarely say why we do what we do, and that is how we can inspire as a business.  Businesses that communicate their why at the forefront experience the most success. Take a look at some of the brands you really love.  We’re drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe–their why.

Sinek explains that the businesses that lead with what they do and what they offer are not the same as those who begin with WHY they do what they do. When you turn on any episode of this podcast, you hear first what we believe.  I lead with my belief because it helps people determine if I will resonate with them and it also dictates how and what I teach. I want to attract and speak to those people who share my viewpoints on business and life.  Your why provides context for everything else you do, and if you don’t know your why, then you won’t know how or what. When you start with your why, those who believe what you believe are drawn to you for very personal reasons. I’m positive that when you think of the brands that you’re drawn to, there is some kind of personal connection or emotional tie. When you emphasize your why, you’re much clearer about your purpose, your cause, your belief and you can then show how your product or service advances your why.

A clear sense of why sets an expectation among your audience.  Sinek explains that when you don’t know an organization’s why, customers really don’t know what to expect, so they expect the minimum–minimum price, quality, features, service. When we have a sense for the why, we expect more.

The New Competition

Sinek poses the question, “What if we showed up to work every day simply to be better than ourselves?” I’m frequently asked if I think the market for hair bows is oversaturated and my honest answer is “no.” The fact that Because of Zoe receives new customers every day and I always hear from moms about how my bows are exactly what they were looking for that they couldn’t find elsewhere lets me know that there isn’t an oversaturated market. The goal is to be the first in front of your audience to share your why and to cultivate relationships that will allow them to become part of your Loyal League. Remember that you are your greatest competition and stay away from the comparison monster.

Parting Words from Sinek

 I’ll leave you with Sinek’s final words in the book,  “And finally to all those who read this book and pass it on to someone you believe it will inspire, thank you. I know that if enough of us learn about the existence of the why and work hard to start everything we do with why, we can and will change the world.” 


  • Sinek’s explanation of manipulation vs. inspiration [00:06:16]

    4 Trade-offs when dealing with manipulations [00:10:05]

    Inspire by starting with WHY [00:14:38]

    How grocery store, Publix, starts with why [00:16:39]

    The New Competition [00:31:43]

    Why I love this book [00:37:04]

Action Steps

  • I want to hear your insights and your #1 takeaway from today’s episode, let me know by leaving a comment over on Instagram @shuntagrant.  Chat soon!

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Shunta Grant

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Hi there! I’m Shunta, I work with women who seek success in their businesses, but not at the expense of joy in their lives! I teach them how to build and grow successful businesses that keep customers coming back time and time again. When I’m not helping women run businesses they love, I’m reading a good book, taking a class at the gym or walking the aisles of Target and TJ Maxx with my daughter Zoe. If you believe that both your business and your life can be filled with joy, come hang out with me here on the Business, Life & Joy podcast.

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