Team:Arizona State E/Sinek


Case Study #2: Productivity--The Sinek Hypothesis

In 2009, author Simon Sinek appeared at a TED Conference with the subject: “How great leaders inspire action”. In this talk, Sinek discussed the ramifications of leadership and how inspiration was not necessarily intrinsic, but rather, nurtured by great leaders. As the speech continues, Simon furthers his insight on passion and inspiration to discuss how these elements also contribute to effective problem solving skills and innovation.

Let us begin with an explanation of how leadership inspires action. Sinek broke down the process into the “Golden Circle”.

In the Golden Circle, Sinek breaks down the process into three levels: what, how, and why. According to Sinek, the current methodology (particularly in business), starts with ‘what they seek’, then reaches ‘how they attain it’, and then ultimately ‘why should it matter’. That’s bad. This kind of ideology starts with a product in mind before an intrinsic incentive. Sinek argues that often times, this does not allow for creative growth and innovative development because there is a singular focus. Furthermore, this responsibility rests on the leadership. Simon argues that leaders that begin with ‘what’ are ultimately doomed to fail because they lack a core element to search for an answer. This brings in the concept of ‘passion’.

Sinek argues that the most successful entrepreneurs always start with ‘why’. He suggests that leaders who begin with a grander vision or calling are not only able to mobilize talented followers, but also inspire them to produce unique products that characterize these goals.

The take home message from this case study can be summed up by a quote from Sinek's talk:“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”