“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it”


The Golden Circle consists of three circles. The inner most circle is why. The middle circle is how. And the outer most circle is what. “Every organization on this plants knows what they do, some know how they do it…but very very few know why they do what they do it.” Most business and people act from the outside-in. However, successful, inspirational business act from the inside-out. They put more emphasis on why they are selling products rather than what they are selling.

When you tell a child they are not allowed to do something the first thing they will ask  is “why?” As we grow up the “why” starts to become “what.” As we get older, the reasoning behind a decision starts to fade while the “what”  in a decision becomes more prominent.

I believes that the “why” aspect in a decision begins to fade when children start school. When teachers teach, the teach the what. In History we are taught what happens when, who didn’t like who, this war lead to this war, etc. However, we are very often not taught why something happened the way it did. For example. Why did Martin Luther King Jr. lead the Civil Rights movement? All students are taught what MLK did, but why him? There were plenty of other men that felt passionate about civil rights. WHY him?

Why were the Wright Brothers able to achieve the first flight when there were other more qualified people who would be expected to accomplish such an achievement? I believe this to be because they had inspiration. They did not what the reputation for being the first men to fly, they wanted to accomplish this goal because it was something they personally wanted. They did it for themselves. They did it for self satisfaction. This is why they were the first men to take flight rather than the rich business man who wanted to build his reputation.

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” This statement plays a big role in leadership. Leadership is all about inspiration and therefore more emphasis is put on they why versus the what. This Ted Talk sparked my curiosity. From now on even before the simplest decisions I stop and consider the “why.” Considering the “why” has had more of an impact than I expected. In some ways it helps one to discover who they are. It helps them to identify their believes because in considering the “why” one must consider their reasoning for doing something.


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