How Great Leaders Inspire Action

In the 18-minute Ted Video below, Simon Sinek presents a compelling argument that great leaders inspire action in their followers by starting with the “Why” before talking about the “How” or “What”.   He illustrates his points using the inspirational examples of Apple Computer, the Wright brothers, and Martin Luther King Jr.

If you haven’t already seen it, I recommend you take 30 minutes to watch the video and then draft a “Why” statement for both your company and yourself.  It is well worth the time, and one of the better TED videos that I have seen.  It could significantly change your approach in communicating to employees and customers.


Sinek says that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.  A key to success as a leader is attracting followers who share your beliefs.  When inspiring others to follow you or buy your product, start with “Why”.

In our March Vistage meetings, we watched and discussed this video, and all members (including me) took a stab at drafting a why statement for their businesses, and for themselves.

Here is my take on the Vistage Why, How and What statements.

Why:  Vistage is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and enhancing the lives of Chief Executives.

How:  We accomplish this by helping Chief Executives become better leaders, make better decisions, and get better results.

What:  We build and sustain Executive Peer Advisory Groups of chief executives from non-competing business to deliver 4 pillars of value.

  1. Confidential “Advisory” Peer Group Meetings that meet monthly to address key issues impacting executive decision-making and corporations;
  2. Private 1-to-1 Mentoring/Coaching Sessions monthly between the Vistage Chair and member executive;
  3. Expert resources (e.g. speakers, coaches, and “been there done that” CEOs that visit the group meetings regularly)
  4. Exclusive Content and On-line Connectivity to all 15,000 members and resources developed and improved for over 50 years on the proprietary Vistage Village website.

The next step is to articulate your own “Why” statement, which is more personal, and therefore, more difficult.  People often ask me why I became a Vistage chair, having led a large global consulting business for many years.

The reason I became a Vistage Chair is to fulfill my core life purpose, which is to use my gifts, to do what matters, with people who care.  Building, sustaining, and belonging to a community of leaders who are committed to one another’s business and personal success is more fulfilling than anything else I can imagine.

So what is your personal “Why” statement?  We are looking to add a few more advisory board members that believe what we believe.  If you would like to learn more about what it means to belong to an executive peer group that is committed to helping one another grow their businesses, their people, and themselves, call me at 612.877.1234.

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