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It’s all about the why. Simon Sinek is a consultant based in NY who worked out after some years of operating his small consulting practice – that he needed to establish ‘why’ he did what he does. And since he has discovered why he has been in business, his business has flourished – he is now a much sought after speaker sharing his wisdom on how business owners (or CEOs) can work out ‘why’ they are in business.

Ultimately he claims that to breed true loyalty to any organisation or brand people have to understand ‘why’ we do what we do.

Most marketing activities he claims – promotions, discounts, case studies, advertising etc. are all about ‘manipulation’. Long term this will not create enough of a connection with customers (or employees) to create loyalty.

Organisations that achieve a loyalty are inspirational. In fact, he says that they often act in the opposite way to other organisations. He cited Apple as an obvious example. Apple is about changing the status quo – people who buy Apple product see themselves associated with doing something different.

He says most organisations centre around ‘what’ eg. We produce the best technology solutions blah blah blah rather than the ‘why’.

The ‘why’ needs to be the single driving motivation to do things – the purpose, cause or belief. ‘Why’ gives clarity. (RedBalloon is changing gifting in Australia forever – so people don’t get given crap anymore)

Then ‘how’ – the specific actions that are taken to realise the ‘Why’ – this will be the values or the guiding principles. ‘How’ gives discipline. (At RedBalloon we do what we say we’re going to do, we are a team of leaders, we are generous, we have fun and we are a little dog with a big dog attitude.)

The ‘what’ are the tangible manifestations of the ‘why’ that is the tangible proof or results. ‘What’ gives consistency. (RedBalloon is all about amazing gifts for amazing people – experiential gifts that delight.)

“If you define yourself by what you do – that is all you will ever do” Simon Sinek

The goal is to do business with people who believe in why we do business. Not to be all things to all people. This requires strength and long term commitment. Ultimately loyalty will come from people who believe in what you believe. This is true of employees too – we must employ people who believe what we believe and why we do what we do.

If people inside your company don’t believe what you believe then how could you get people outside the business to believe… (my next blog will be more on what I’ve learned about Brand Engagement)

I have always known that my job as CEO is all about Vision, Values and Alignment (I have written many blogs on it). This just looks at the same thing using different words – Why, How and What.

It’s not what you do it’s why you do it that makes the difference. And writing it down is important, which is why I have shared my painted picture document with you recently. Also attached again.

I’m planning to move from success to significance….as I continue my journey to change gifting in Australia and NZ forever. Want to play?

Reader Interactions


  1. So true…’Why’ is what inspires us to wake up in the morning and look forward to our working day…’Why’ is what makes work fun…’Why’ provides us with the passion…

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