O.k., I am not naming all the books on my shelf currently holding a bookmark. The one I am really reading is Simon Sinek’s Start with Why. You can watch his amazing TED talk on the topic here:
I fell in love with this guy in an instant, and I am sure so will you. Not only is he really smart, everything he says totally clicked with me.
One of the subjects I teach is Strategic Planning. And strategy development also starts with Why. You don’t develop a great strategy on what you do or how you do it, but on the vision, the Why are we here in the first place? Why does our company exist?
It’s amazing how difficult it is to teach students how to think along that line. Although the lecture on Business Basics starts with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to explain why we do business at all, students forget that the minute they passed the exam. So when I meet them later on for Strategic Planning, they are already used to the common obsession with efficiency so widely spread in business administration, ignoring whether they do something useful in the first place.
I like the way Simon talks about this issues and he reminds me to stay focused myself. It is easy to adapt to your environment; and it takes not only courage but also a clear sense of your own Why to do what you consider the right thing to do. In university, teaching something unorthodox might negatively affect your career prospects. Simon reminded me that my line of thinking is not against my profession; I want successful businesses and to educate people who are able to set them up and run them. All I do is suggesting a way of How to do business I consider socially responsible.
And whatever you are doing I am sure you will benefit from this book, too.
Have a great Sunday!