It all starts with the question of "why"
These facts may seem puzzling to us as well as to our competition. However, they are not when viewed from a perspective starting with the WHY. The golden circle model helps explain why famous leaders like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Wright Brothers were able to accomplish what others couldn't. Although they were just as intelligent and just as hard-working, but often better financed. If you read my or my talk on WHY on TED.com (http://bit.ly/GoldenCircleTalk) then you already know the golden circle; If you are new to the golden circle, then this chapter is essential - an essential preparation in your search for the WHY. In every organization - and in the professional life of the people in it - we operate on three levels:
- What we do,
- how we do it and
- why we do it.
We all know what we do: what products we sell, what services we offer, what jobs we do. Some of us know how to do it: these are the skills that we believe make the difference, that set us apart from the general public. But very few can clearly articulate why they do what they do.
We don't just work for money
"Wait a minute," you could say. “Hand on heart - don't most people work for money? It is obvious that this is their 'why'. ”But money is only a consequence. While it's part of the whole, it's not what inspires us to get up and go to work every morning. And the cynics who insist that they and others actually only go to work for money, I ask why they want to make money.
To be free? To travel? To ensure their children a comfortable life that they did not have themselves? The gist is that it's not money that drives us. The WHY leads to a much deeper understanding of what motivates and inspires us. It is the goal, purpose, or beliefs that drive all organizations and all personal careers. Why does your company exist? Why did you get up this morning? Why should anyone care? When we talk to consumers or new customers, we usually explain to them what we are doing. We explain to them how we do this or how we differ from the others.
Purely rational arguments do not help companies
That will be enough to win the race, we believe, to influence their decision or to convince them to do something specific. The following product promotion follows this pattern: This is a very rational argument. It clarifies what the company is doing and tries to convince potential buyers to buy based on product features and financial benefits. This reasoning may work at times, but at best it will result in a few bookings. As soon as the buyer finds a better offer, he will turn his back on the company, because product advertising does not distinguish the specific supplier from other companies in any essential argument. Loyalty is not built through product features and benefits. Qualities and financial advantages do not inspire. Loyalty and a long-term bond build on something deeper. Let's try again with our product advertising.
Let's start with the WHY: What good is an idea that cannot be shared? Our company was founded to spread ideas. The more ideas that are disseminated, the greater the likelihood that those ideas will make an impact on the world. There are many ways to share ideas; one of them is the written word. This is our specialty. We make the paper for these words. We sell paper. We offer the best quality at the lowest possible price; lower than everyone else. Do you want to buy from us? Or how about this variant: We make paper for big ideas. Do you want to buy it? That's something completely different, isn't it? If we start with the WHY, it suddenly makes the paper attractive. And if it does that for the mass-produced paper, then it will work much better with a product that is something special.
On the value and the Sense it depends
These advertisements are not based on data and facts, characteristics and financial benefits. These products have value, but that's not the main thing. The WHY in the first place gives the argument a deeper, an emotional and therefore ultimately greater value. When we use the second advertisement, it is no longer about paper. Then it's about what the company is and what it stands for. Of course there will always be people who just want to buy paper. Still, if the consumer's personal beliefs and values align with those expressed in product advertising - for example, if they believe in the free diffusion of ideas - then it is much more likely that this company is who they are with want to buy.
Not just once, but over and over again. In fact, even if another provider offers a better price, they are likely to remain loyal. It says something about the buyer's personality when they buy from a company that reflects their beliefs. It is the companies that inspire, that have earned long-term trust and loyalty, that make us feel that we have appropriated something. Something that is so important that we also sacrifice a few more euros for it. This attachment to something bigger is also the reason why we still wear the jersey of our local sports club, even if it has not had any successes for more than a decade.
Feelings are stronger than rational thinking
This is also the reason why many people always prefer Apple products to other products, even if Apple is not always the cheapest choice. We have to admit that man is not an exclusively rational being. If that were the case, no one would fall in love, no one would start a company. Given the minimal chances of success, no rational person would take such a risk in either case. We do it anyway. We do it because our feelings for an object or a person are stronger than rational thinking.
But our emotions cause us problems. It can be incredibly difficult to express. That's why we so often resort to metaphors or analogies like "Our relationship is like a train hurtling at breakneck speed" or "When I go to the office I feel like a little kid again that goes to the children's playground «. While it's so difficult to express feelings - it's worth it. When we are emotionally on the same wavelength as consumers and customers, the bond is stronger and deeper than any connection based on product features and benefits. That's what Ask is always about first: why.
Emotional thinking corresponds to how our brain works
The best part, however, is that this is not just a matter of opinion. The whole principle of the WHY question is based on the biology of decision making. The functioning of the golden circle corresponds exactly to the functioning of the human brain.
- The outer ring of the golden circle - the WHAT - corresponds to the outer part of the brain; the neocortex. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for rational and analytical thinking. It helps us understand data and facts, features and benefits. The neocortex is also responsible for language.
- The two inner rings of the golden circle - the WHY and the HOW - correspond to the inner part of the brain, the limbic system. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for our behavior and our decisions. He is also responsible for all of our feelings, such as trust and loyalty.
- In contrast to the neocortex, the limbic system has no language function. That is the part from which the "gut feeling" arises. It doesn't come from our stomachs. It's about how we feel when we make a decision and have trouble explaining it.
This division of competencies is the biological explanation for why it is often difficult for us to put our feelings into words (“I love you more than words can say”), to explain our actions (“I don't know what the devil I am rode! ") or to justify our decisions (" I just felt that this was the right thing to do ").
Making decisions and implementing projects: When feelings become words
However, we can learn to put these feelings into words - and that is exactly what helps us make the right decisions. Those who put feelings into words can motivate themselves, colleagues and customers better. We wrote this book to help you find these words. Once you understand your WHY, you will be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled. And you will better understand what drives your behavior when you are your best self.
If you can do that, then you will have a point of reference for everything you will do in the future. You will be able to make more informed decisions about your company, your career and your life. They will be able to inspire others to buy your products, to work with you and to fight together for your cause. Never again should you have to play the lottery again by making instinctive decisions that are not solidly reasoned. From now on you will proceed purposefully and consciously. From now on, always ask first: why. And then you can manage to make decisions and implement projects.
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