Every entrepreneur strives to be the leader in their market. Who wouldn’t want to create products that are so desirable that customers waiting in line for days just to be the first few to get it? Who wouldn’t want to have their services mobbed by rabid fans, mostly posting positive comments about their experiences with their company? There are companies and individuals out there who are doing just that.
So what sets them apart?
First we need to understand a bit more about how we communicate. Most people and companies can very easily tell you WHAT it is they do or what their product does. Then they tell you HOW they plan to do it. If the HOW and WHAT were enough, most people would be extremely successful. But that’s not the case. What’s missing is the difference that makes the difference. The “WHY”. Their purpose.
When you as an individual, as a company can define, clearly your WHY, it becomes a catalyst for achieving all the amazing, extraordinary things that the exceptional people and organizations accomplish in the world.
Let’s take a look at Apple; love them or hate them, you have to acknowledge their extraordinary success. Practically everything they sell – computers, MP3 players, movies, music, accessories – is a success. Customers rave about their products, they have loyal fans who will beat down any negative feedback (even if it’s true) from other consumers and competitors without any added incentive from Apple.
Now, if Apple communicated like every one of their competitors, from the OUTSIDE in, they would sound like this: We make computers (What). Our computers are user-friendly and look beautiful (How). They somehow sound very common and very much less appealing. But Apple is anything but that.
The way apple communicates is they start from the INSIDE out. They start with their WHY. We believe in innovation, we think differently, we challenge the status quo. Then they talk about their HOW. We do this by designing revolutionary products that change the way that you live and perceive your life. Only then do they talk about their WHAT. By the way, we sell computers; want to buy one? Grabs your attention, doesn’t it?
The key is this: People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.
Simon Sinek highlighted this success-defining process of communication by looking at all the most successful people, movements, and companies and saw that they all had this in common. He represents this in what he calls “The Golden Circle”.
The Golden Circle
The interesting thing about the Golden Circle is that it’s not simply an idea, it’s hardwired in our biology. If we look at a cross-section of our brains from the top down, the outer part of our brain, our neocortex, corresponds with the “what” level. The neocortex is responsible for our rational, analytical thought and language. The middle two sections make up our limbic brain which are responsible for our feelings like trust and loyalty. It’s also responsible for our behavior and decision making and it has no capacity for language.
What this translates to is when we communicate from the outside in, people can understand all about the features, benefits, facts and figures, but it doesn’t drive behavior. When we communicate from the inside out, we’re talking directly to the part of the brain that affects behavior and then allow them to rationalise it by themselves with what we say and do. This is where “gut decisions” come from. This is what causes people to make a decision because it “feels right”.
The message, marketing, communication, everything that you do has to appeal to this part of the brain. Your business has to actively talk about it’s purpose – the WHY. And that’s when you’ll get employees that want to work for you because they believe what you believe. That’s when you’ll get customers who want to own your products because they share your passion. And that’s when you can be truly successful and world-changing without really even trying all that hard. All it requires is a shift in the way you communicate – from the inside out.