Here are two ways to influence behavior: you can manipulate it, or inspire it. Manipulations are simple and effective short term, but they are expensive to maintain and unstable long-term. Inspiration takes more discipline, but the long-term impact is astounding. The ability to inspire distinguishes good leaders from great ones. Examples of manipulations include dropping your price or having a promotion to overcome perceived risk or objections to close the sale. In marketing, fear is a wonderful manipulator, as is peer pressure. When a company tells us that they serve 70 percent of the market as a reason to do business, they are using peer pressure to close the deal. Aspirational messages, though positive, are also manipulations. You can convince someone to go once to the gym with an aspirational message, for example, but to get them to go three days a week requires inspiration. Manipulations work - that is why they’re so pervasive. But they’re costly to maintain, their gains short-term, and they don’t breed loyalty. Where manipulations work by offering external motivation, real loyalty comes from inspiration - an internal motivation born out of value and beliefs.
Great leaders never try to rationalize why you should or shouldn’t do something. They don’t start by telling you what to do.
Great leaders all start with why. They tell you what they believe, their purpose or their cause and then ask you to
HOW DO YOU INSPIRE LOYALTY?
Great and inspiring leaders think, act and communicate the same way - and their simple pattern of behavior, the Golden Circle, explains why some leaders are so good at inspiring action. Every person and organization knows ‘what’ they do - they know what products or services they sell. Some know ‘how’ they do it, whether you call it your differentiating value proposition or your proprietary process or USP. But few leaders or organizations can clearly state ‘why’ they do what they do. This has nothing to do with money or profit - those are results. By why, I mean what’s your purpose, cause or belief? Why does your company exist? Why did you get out of bed today? And why should anyone care? As a result, we think, act, and communicate from the outside-in of the Golden Circle: we tell people what to do, how we think we’re different or better, and then we expect a behavior - a purchase.
But all great leaders think, act, and communicate from the inside out - they all start with ‘why’. Apple, for example, follows the principles of the Golden Circle, and that earns them the ability to inspire innovation and loyalty. If Apple were like everyone else, a marketing message from them would start with what, then try to differentiate with how. But here’s how Apple actually communicates: “In all we do, we believe in thinking differently - we challenge the status quo by making our products beautifully designed and simple to use. We just happen to make great computers.” It’s a very different feeling - no manipulations - by starting with why. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. What you do - your products and services - and how you communicate serve as the proof of what you believe. When you communicate from the outside-in, starting with what, people can understand the facts, figures, features, and benefits - but it doesn’t drive their behavior.
When you communicate from the inside-out, starting with why, you influence behavior, and the tangible things you say and do enable people to rationalize their decisions. Great leaders never try to rationalize why you should or shouldn’t do something. They don’t start by telling you what to do. Great leaders all start with why. They tell you what they believe, their purpose or their cause and then ask you to join them.
We follow leaders and buy from companies that inspire us, not because we have to or because we are manipulated to do so, but because we choose to.
WE FOLLOW THOSE WHO INSPIRE US - NOT FOR THEM, BUT FOR OURSELVES.
And what the great leaders do to inspire us is tell us why they do what they do - they always start with why.