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It's not what you do, it's WHY

by Davin Wilfrid

July 16, 2010

By Davin Wilfrid, Project Expert

When it comes to viral videos, the TED talks are an unlikely success story. Run by a nonprofit dedicated entirely to "ideas worth spreading," the talks themselves are condensed lectures on a wide range of subjects -- often delving deeper into academic topics than most of us care to in our daily lives.

Yet there are always flashes of inspiration to be found. One video I watched yesterday resonated particularly well with me. In it, marketing consultant Simon Sinek discusses what he calls the "Golden Circle" of communication, and how the best communicators (and salesmen) are those who can reverse the typical order of communication.

Rather than telling your customers what you make, then how you make, then why you make it, the best in the business start with the why. Sinek cites Apple's ability to distinguish itself from all the other computer, phone, tablet, and mp3 player manufacturers by communicating first the reasons WHY they do what they do (to challenge the status quo). Only after that has be en established does the communication continue on to how they do it and what the end results are.

To me, this concept reaches far beyond marketing. At its core, project management means nothing more than triggering the right behaviors from a team of people. Inspiring them with the WHY will go a long way to getting the HOW and WHAT accomplished.


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