Start with the WHY

Simon Sinek has a concept that he calls the Golden Circle and over the last few years I have watched his presentation of it several times. It is a simple concept that helps define why some organizations and leaders are more successful than others.


This is the Golden Circle and it looks simple. Everyone knows WHAT they do. Some are able to state HOW they do it. But very few can clearly articulate WHY they do it. Most leaders and organizations communicate and lead from the outside (WHAT) to the inside (WHY). However the effective and successful ones lead from the inside (WHY) out (WHAT). Here is a simple example of each using our guest speaker Jamele Adams from a few weeks ago. We had Jamele come to speak to kids (WHAT), he came during the day and again at night (HOW), his message is important for all to hear (WHY). Now here it is in reverse. It is important for all kids to understand inclusivity, diversity, and the role it plays in our community (WHY), we will have a guest speaker come and talk to us about it (HOW), he is excited to share his message with everyone next week (WHAT). Which one is more powerful? Which one is more inspiring? Which one would you rather hear?

Start with the Why:

As we lead initiatives in our schools or in our classrooms, it is important to start with the why. Interestingly enough very few people do it. Why are we bringing in a guest speaker? Why are we having an assembly? Why are we having a test? Why do we have tomorrow off? Why are we looking at our evaluation tool? Very few of us for any of the aforementioned and other things we do in school start with the why. So the question is…why? As we move forward and if we want to effectively lead change in our schools, we must start with the why.

People do not invest in what you do, they invest in why you do it:

Why is it critical to start with the why, because people invest in why you do things, not what you do. Think about those teachers that inspired you? Or those lessons that students loved? Or those leaders that inspired you? I imagine that they started with the WHY? The successful school leaders can clearly articulate what they value and a school’s core values and beliefs…that is the why. More importantly, people can quickly tell you what those leaders value.

This week we mark the quarter part of the school year. As we move forward I challenge you to start with the WHY.