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TED Talk Tuesday: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
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TED Talk Tuesday: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Cornerstone Editors

MARCH 21, 2017

This part is part of our monthly TED Talk Tuesday series, spotlighting can't-miss TED Talks and their key takeaways. You can learn more about our partnership with TED here.

Fascinated by the great leaders of the world, Simon Sinek has managed to codify how inspiring leaders and organizations think, act and communicate. He teaches graduate classes in strategic communication at Columbia University, and is the author of three books, including bestseller Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, which is the focus of this TED Talk.

In his talk, Sinek introduces his idea of the "Golden Circle," which he calls "a naturally occurring pattern, grounded in the biology of human decision making, that explains why we are inspired by some people, leaders, messages and organizations over others."

Watch the video below and read on for three key takeaways from his talk.

"Inspired leaders and the inspired organizations, regardless of their size or industry all think, act and communicate from the inside out."

All great and inspiring leaders and organizations, whether it's Apple or Martin Luther King, operate in the same way—and it's the opposite of everyone else, says Sinek. Inspired and inspiring leaders start with the why before moving to the how and then the what. Sinek uses Apple as an example. Apple believes in challenging the status quo (the why) by making beautifully designed products (the how) and those products just happen to be computers (the what). Does your organization do the same?

"The goal is not to hire people who need a job, it's to hire people who believe what you believe."

The goal of business, Sinek says, is not to do business with everyone who needs what you have, but with everyone who believes in what you believe—and the same applies to hiring. You don't just want to hire people who are only in it for the salary or benefits, but who genuinely believe in your companies mission. He points out that the part of the brain that is responsible for our feelings—the limbic system—is also responsible for all human behavior. Hence why people can know all of the facts with someone and still "go with their gut".

Finding people who genuinely care about your company's mission can change your company culture from one thats driven a desire to earn more money to one that's fueled by loyalty and passion.

"Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us."

Not all people who have a position or title of authority are truly leaders. A true leader is someone we follow not because we have to but because we want to, says Sinek. Leaders who start with what they believe are the ones who inspire those around them, because in the end, we all follow those who lead not for themselves, but for others, says Sinek.

Header photo: TED

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