Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lead with the Why

I've wondered why I do so well when I interview for a job. I'm not good looking, only average smart, have had only average experiences. I am hard working, and creative, but so are a ton of other people. But somehow, if I interview for a job, I get an offer about 80% of the time, and almost 100% of the time if I actually ask for the job. Why is that?

Today I found out why. I saw an 18 minute TED video by Simon Senek. Simon Senek presents a very simple idea that he calls The Golden Circle. It's a simple idea -- three concentric circles. The outside circle is "What".  The next circle in is "How". The inner circle is "Why". Simon Senek says the what are the features of your product, or perhaps the facts of your resume.  Everyone in the company knows What the company does. Most of the people know How the company does it. But maybe very few know the most important thing, the Why.

Simon Senek says that the conventional way to sell something is to start with the what and move in. So we describe the features of the product. But the exceptional people start with the Why and go from there. People are attracted to the why.

I know this is true from my own experience.

When I interview for a job, I have naturally focused on the Why I do what I do. At this point in my life, that seems to be the most important part, maybe the only important part.  I don't care so much about the money. I don't care so much about the fame or the power-- but I do care a whole lot about what the Buddhists call "ending suffering" -- my mission. And that's what I talk about. I figure at this point that if the company and I don't share the same mission, then there is no point in me working with them at all.
Think about your own Why and when you are interviewing or selling or leading. Start with the Why and see if you don't experience greater success. I know you will.


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