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#StartWithWhy: for processes too?

May 17th, 2016 Posted in Change Tags: , , , , ,

In the same vein as the preceding article, and because I’m definitely a How guy, I thought that Simon Sinek’s concept could as well be used when considering the creation of value.

  • the Why is the purpose of a process or an activity. It’s both the origin of it (what you come from: a problem to be solved) and the end of it (what the customer wants),
  • the How is the process itself which turns the initial problem into value for the customer,
  • and the What is value that gets created along the process.

All three aspects of value creation are necessary for it to be effective. The Why is necessary for the process to exist in the first place. The How is useful to maximize the throughput and make the most use of the energy to create the value. Leftover energy can be used for other value creation activities. And the What is the result of the process, flowing to the customer, which will pay you for that so you can live from what you do and hopefully what you love to do (the Why, that is).

Makes sense?


#StartWithWhy: Why, How, What: are we all wired the same?

May 17th, 2016 Posted in Change Tags: , , , , ,

I love Simon Sinek’s video about his theory of “Start with Why“. And I have no doubt it works.

But once you’ve sold your why-idea to someone, what happens next? I was asking myself this question when thinking about change (in general, not only in organizational context).

I suspect one could sort people out in three categories:

  • Why people are those motivated primarily about the purpose or the cause of an action or a change. They’re advocates or public relations people. They find their motivation in trying to make other people see and understand their perspective, or adhere to the same “why”.
  • How people are motivated by the process or method by which to reach the Why. If the Why triggers them into motion, the How is what drives their relentless actions: How to communicate? How to best serve the cause?
  • What people are finally those who are motivated by the doing. They want to get things done, because, in the end, it’s all that count.

If the selling of an idea “starts with why”, the realization of it clearly needs all three types.

You might know the parable of the man throwing back fishes stranded on the beach. He picks them up one after another and throws them back into the sea. Yet there are thousands left to go. Comes a passerby wondering whether this makes any difference given the huge number to go proceed, some of which will probably die anyway. The guy answers, throwing another fish in the sea: “to this one at least, it does make a difference!”.

The guy throwing fishes back into the sea is a What person. A How person would take some time devising a method to throw more back to the sea at a time and a way to preserve the ones left to throw until their time has come. And finally a Why person would beat drums to gather other people to help in throwing fishes back into the sea.

I’m clearly of the How type. What about you?

Pick a project you’re working on. Who’s in charge of the Why and is it articulated clearly enough? Have you thought of the How in order to best deliver your value or message? And who’s in charge of the doing?

I disagree: self-organization is NOT hard (reply to @bud_caddell)

This is a reply to Bud Caddell‘s article here.

First, I’d like to say that I agree with most of the content of the article, especially the stuff on Holacracy being complicated stuff. I come from Lean management coaching, and I can say that Lean is complex too. Indeed, we see similar problems: some companies succeed in implementing it, some don’t. Most don’t by the way. Read more »

#Lean and @simonsinek’s Golden Circle : there’s hope for you, yet…

February 24th, 2014 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I had a sort of epiphany this morning during commute.

Lean isn’t, or shouldn’t, be transmitted or taught about improving performance or best to achieve performance.

The recent history of Lean seems to me to have gone through the following steps, which, in my mind, mirror the approaching of the WHY center circle of Simon Sinek.

Whats of Lean were the first to be taught (probably because they were the easiest to spot and understand inside Toyota plants) – and is still probably the main line of teaching Lean. Incidentally, these were those Taiichi Ohno warned us against:

  • Results: is orientated toward increasing performance of the company
  • Teaching of Lean: based mostly on using tools

Hows of Lean saw the beginning of a change in how Lean is transmitted:

  • Results: are sought through people and therefore “Respect” comes again to the fore (which it should never have left anyway)
  • Teaching of Lean: centered on how you achieve results (through people), that solutions come from them, not from the sensei. I think the epitome for this is the great “Toyota Kata” approach to teach Lean from Mike Rother.

Whys of Lean is when executives understand there’s really something more to improving a company, and that “respect for people” really is meant for more than mere words:

  • Results: are about contributing to something bigger than the company
  • Teaching of Lean: Lean is about making people flourish both inside and outside the company

Funnily, the more you advance in how you see Lean (according to the preceding three steps), the less you speak about Lean stuff and more about personal and organizational purpose.

Of course, I can’t end this post without this famous quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Simon, I bow before you…

@DanielPink + @SimonSinek? Connecting Drive to Golden Circles?

Dan Pink (in “Drive“) talks about Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Simon Sinek (in “Start with Why“) is all about What, How and Why?

I see a strong relationship between the two models:

  • What <–> Autonomy which would mean that people are better when they are autonomous on the work they do
  • How <–> Mastery which would mean people thrive when they develop their skills in how to do a job
  • and Why <–> Purpose which would mean that people are best when they can make meaning of their work

Incidentally, although I haven’t yet read Pink’s book (sorry Daniel ;), I’ve always wondered how these three values connect with those of Self Determination Theory (SDT) which are: Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness.

There’s a clear link between Competence and Mastery obviously. And connecting “Relatedness” with “Purpose”, although two words with different meanings, seems to me perfectly aligned with what spiritual masters tried to teach us long ago: that life meaning mostly comes out of helping others (or trivially summarized in the saying “man is a social animal”).

What do you think?


People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it (#TED talk by Simon #Sinek)

March 22nd, 2011 Posted in Change Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Go check this empowering video available here (and maybe the corresponding book also).

Simon greatly explains that people don’t buy what you do or how you do it, but why you do it.  He also explains that you need to have this in mind in order to cross the chasm to get the vast majority of your niche buy your product.


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