National Learning at Work week - Start with Why

Published on

It is day three of National Learning at Work week and my colleagues at byrne.dean have been sharing talks and posts which have had a profound impact on them personally as well as professionally.

I've chosen Simon Sinek's Start with Why Ted talk that you can view at

I'm a big fan of his and once you start to look at some of some of his work, it's hard not to become a Sinek junky. But it was this Ted talk that really got me thinking about what makes an inspiring leader and I love the simplicity of it.

There was a time when people asked me about myself I'd say "I'm an employment lawyer (what I do), and I advise mainly employers on ways to reduce their risk (how I do it) ...... I don't think I ever thought about why I was doing it. Maybe if pushed I might have said "because I'm good at it!" Not very inspiring!

Through his visual of the golden circle he highlights how organisations and people spend so much of their focus on what they do and how they do it and how communication which centres on these approaches to get people's buy in won't hit the target. It is why someone does what they do, why they believe what they believe, why they get up in the morning that hits our emotional limbic brains - satisfies that gut feeling test which we human beings feel so very comfortable with.

I am fortunate to spend so much of my time with leaders of all sorts of organisations. I'm asked all the time 'how do I get people to be as engaged and excited as I am?" I can help them with their communication skills, I can help them surface their biases and reduce the negative impact of those biases on their decision making, I can help them with ways to demonstrate that what they say is what they believe. But I can't help them until they've worked out what they believe - what their Purpose is. For leaders to inspire trust, loyalty and belief, they need to be clear on "the Why".

So now when I'm asked about me, I am clear: "I help organisations create kinder, fairer, more productive workplaces". It's what gets me out of bed in the morning. I'm proud of my legal background and my experience as a facilitator and trainer running training and coaching interventions with leaders and staff. But I know the what and the how I do it is only mildly interesting - I hope that why I do it, the passion and excitement in genuinely helping to create workplaces where diverse people can thrive, will mean that others will talk to me, not for me, but because that is what they believe as well - they'll do it for themselves.

More from

No items found.