Simon Sinek told us how great leaders inspire action in 2009, what’s changed?

Simon Sinek: What’s changed?

We were reading through our blog archives and came across one Nick had written in 2015 about Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on how great leaders inspire action. So we’re here to discuss Simon Sinek – what’s changed in business?

Whilst writing this blog, we checked to see how many views it had had.  Over forty-four million is the answer (44,109,455) and it’s been translated into forty-eight languages.

This would suggest that people in general and business owners specifically now know this stuff is no longer fluffy or nice to have. They realise they must pay attention to it, otherwise, they will lose their competitive edge both in terms of acquiring new revenues and new talent.


Too often though, only lip service is paid.  It’s sad when we go into organisations and they tell us that their core value is People. And then we listen to the owners bitch, whine and moan about individuals at a level that is deeply disturbing.  That is most definitely not living the values.

And there are those organisations where the values definitely match the behaviours and we witness low absenteeism, low sickness levels and high a high degree of engagement and therefore productivity.

Nick and I ran a recruitment business together in the early noughties and our core value was ‘never play god’.  We took our role in finding people their dream job and finding our clients their dream employees very seriously indeed.  In the often murky world of recruitment, we stuck to our core value and purpose, even when it meant losing fees.

And, this, my friend is the key to a purpose and value-led business.  It’s not about pretty words on the walls, or about digging gardens or painting fences or baking cakes. It’s not even about flexi-time or employee benefits.  All of these things are supporting systems.  They simply support the purpose and values you hold dear as a business.  And yet…..


That’s exactly where many businesses start and finish their purpose (we call it Purpose at Tricres because Simon took ‘Why’ and really did make it his own.)

We deliver Purpose, Vision and Values days for businesses who are seeking to redefine who they are, what they stand for and where they’re going.  This often involves ripping up their own rule book and starting again because you have to ‘feel’ the purpose or the ‘why’ of the business.  You cannot simply say it out loud, print a few mouse mats and talk a good game.  You must really feel it.  The purpose comes from the heart and not the head.

The Values of the business stem from the Purpose and then every decision the business makes is run through the check of ‘does it match our Values and our Purpose?’

Here’s the rub.

If it doesn’t match that Purpose or those Values, then no matter how lucrative, how smart or how tempting the deal, new employee or supplier, then it does not go ahead.  Full stop.  End of.

If you are clear about your Purpose and Values as a business, then decisions become easier, quicker and more effective.  When you go against the heart and soul of the business, then you will find yourself in real trouble. Sometimes trouble you cannot recover from.

So, when Nick asked in 2015…

“Do you watch ‘TED Talks’?  You should.” He was right.

It’s your job as a business owner and leader to be as informed as possible about what works and what doesn’t work.

Just in case you’ve been in a cave for the past ten years, is a website loaded with short films featuring speakers on all manner of subjects, some are business-related and some aren’t.

He has a couple of talks on there, one of which is about leadership, the other regarding the essence of why it is people do what they do.

Nick’s original post focused on one element of the talk.  Here’s an extract from that post


That word is at the heart of about what he talks.  Why do companies, organisations and individuals do what they do?

Have you ever asked yourself why you do what you do?

If you are in a job, you probably replied: ‘to earn money’.

Why do organisations do what they do?  When I have asked partners in law firms and senior executives in corporations, their reply has always been: ‘to make a profit’.

Sinek opines that profit and earning money are the result of doing what you do, rather than the reason why.

I only watched his talk a few months ago, since which I have viewed it on a further 5 occasions.  Recently I have also posed the question to several individuals with the same result each time: silence (once they had said ‘money’ or ‘profit’).

When I asked a trainee lawyer this morning.  His reply was: ‘to make my father proud’, which is interesting because it means he has embarked on a career, not because he wants it but to make his dad happy.  (As a father myself, I suspect his dad would be proud no matter what he did, as long as it was legal and not causing harm to others.)

Why We Do What We Do

Of course, this has led me to think about why I do what I do.

I already knew, sub-consciously but never articulated it.  I train people in communication skills, in the style and manner that I do (I am not like other trainers – my delegates tell me). Because I believe, fundamentally, that virtually all cock-ups in the world originate in ‘a break down in communication/failure to really listen and understand’. And that training is, in the main, delivered by well-meaning people who take themselves and their subject far too seriously.

Training should make people laugh, smile, and think. It should be provocative, engender discussion, debate, enrich and be entertaining.Because when people are entertained they remember so much more and because life really is far too short to regard presentation skills as anything more than fluffy, frothy frippery.

Why do you do what you do?”

Or as Tricres would ask, “For what purpose does your business exist?”

Here’s the link to Simon Sinek’s talk – the quality of recording is rubbish, but we’ll forgive him.