The 3-Part Formula to Unlock Success and Help Your Business Thrive
What separates companies that thrive from companies that die?
If you asked any good business student or professor, you’d learn that a business needs three things to succeed: Good timing, proper funding, and the right team.
But as with many things in life, what seems logical and straightforward in theory turns out to be more mysterious, surprising and even unpredictable in real life when discussing what makes a “successful” business.
In Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, title #6 on my list of top 10 favorite leadership books, Simon Sinek reveals a fourth key that is perhaps even more important than the three critical elements listed above.
I share this particular book twice a year in the ongoing training I lead for Brave Thinking Institute’s coaching certification program. If you own a business, lead a business and/or manage people, Sinek’s insight and advice will absolutely help you make more money.
Mining the Past for Clues About the Future
As a business anthropologist, Sinek spent years studying the history of business. In essence, he unpacked the artifacts and fossils of businesses from bygone eras, looking for clues and insights that businesses could use to succeed in the future.
Sinek made a shocking discovery. Although the business schools taught that businesses needed good timing, proper funding, and the right team to succeed, plenty of businesses that were blessed with those ingredients actually failed.
TiVo is an excellent example. The company revolutionized an industry by digitizing the recording of television shows. For the first time ever, users could pause live TV, rewind, and even skip annoying commercials. Yet the company has never been profitable.
On the flip side, Sinek also discovered businesses that were operating with a critical deficit actually thrived. Perhaps they had situations where the timing wasn’t great, they were underfunded, or they didn’t have brilliant teams. Yet somehow, they succeeded and far surpassed expectations.
The Missing Piece for Business Success
Sinek threw himself into unraveling the puzzle of why businesses that should have been thriving actually weren’t, while others beat the odds to become industry leaders.
He codified the answer in a concept he calls The Golden Circle, which relates to the way we communicate. Whether you own a business, lead a team, or simply want to be more effective and successful in your life, The Golden Circle is a concept you can use to level-up your results.
The Golden Circle comprises three concentric rings.
- The outermost ring is about the “What.”
What does your company do? What do YOU do?
Just about everybody can tell you what they do. Car companies know that they make cars. Computer companies manufacture computers. Nikes produces shoes, clothing, and other commodities.
- The middle ring is about the “How.”
This is where your Unique Selling Proposition comes into play. How do you do what you do in a way that makes you special?
Let’s look at ice cream as an example. There are numerous ice cream companies in the world, and they do things differently. Baskin-Robbins is known for offering 31 flavors, with the idea that a customer could have a different flavor of ice cream every day of the month.
Cold Stone Creamery takes a different approach to stand out. This popular ice cream parlor is known for taking your ice cream, slapping it down on a slab of frozen granite, and mixing in the toppings you want. The experience is a completely different and unique selling proposition.
Perhaps you run a family-owned business, and therefore, you treat every customer like family. Or maybe you can’t yet articulate your “how” at all. Many companies can’t.
- The center circle is the “Why.”
Very few people or companies can describe their “Why.”
Your Why is the heart of your business. It’s why you do what you do. It’s your purpose, your cause.
Nike is a company that knows its Why. Where other shoe companies might proclaim that they make the best shoes, the softest shoes, or shoes that will help you run the fastest, Nike goes deeper.
In fact, Nike doesn’t talk about its products at all. Not a peep about the air soles in their shoes. Not a whisper about the quality of their clothing.
Nike focuses on one thing and one thing only in its advertising: Celebrating greatness.
Why does Nike do what it does? Because great athletes deserve to be celebrated, and because great athletes deserve the best equipment. The fact that Nike makes great shoes is secondary.
What’s Your Why?
Sharing your Why infuses your message with passion. It speaks to your customers and draws them to you. And it helps make any communication about your What and your How more compelling.
At the Brave Thinking Institute, we know our Why.
We empower people to create and live lives that they LOVE living. This is why we do what we do every single day. I want everyone I serve to create lives they love living — my family, my children, my wife, my extended family, my clients — and you! I want you to leap out of bed every day, excited to live your life and embrace the gifts it offers.
Experiment with this idea. Take time to identify your Why – and then share it with your customers and others in your life. See how this changes their interaction with you, and draws them closer to your business with less effort.
Before you go, I’d love to hear your Why! Please share it in the comments below.
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