Simon Sinek: Why Bettering Yourself Beats Bettering The Competition

Simon Sinek: Why Bettering Yourself Beats Bettering The Competition

World famous marketing and leadership guru Simon Sinek spoke in Sydney yesterday and B&T’s Nancy Hromin was there. Here are the choice nuggets from his talk…

Leadership guru Simon Sinek presents to a crowd of 2500 his words of inspiration. It’s just a bummer he’s preaching to the converted.

People swarmed into the sold out Darling Harbour event to listen to Sinek speak.

An unassuming character, dressed in faded blue jeans, a chambray shirt and black adidas sneakers, it’s not long before I also felt the evangelical love for the man along with my 2000-plus friends.

He is razor sharp – when challenged on his homeland’s choice of president he retorted, “And you have had (pause)….let me see (pause) … five leaders in the last five years right?” in an inoffensive way that made all the Australians in the room laugh nervously. No more Trump jokes from us.

And then it starts to roll off his tongue: “Stand for something, not against something.” “We get the politicians we deserve” and  “Be the leader you want to have!”

Sinek is a the master of compelling messaging.  It was a funny and engaging presentation that has us all quite enamoured with the man by the end.

The key messages were:

Every individual, team and company needs a “why”. (If you haven’t seen his Tedx talk, you may be one of the few human beings with a computer that hasn’t. His mantra, known by all Sinek followers is “People don’t buy what you do , they buy why you do it.”


Organisations are comprised of human beings who are fundamentally and biologically social animals. The ability to thrive depends on our ability to trust and co-operate. The concepts of trust and co-operation are not directions – a leader can’t “make” a follower trust them. They are feelings. “The feeling of trust is that if you say you will co-operate to my face, you don’t stab me in the back when I turn around.” He talked about a company who used peer reviews to evaluate whether leaders were trusted and 50 per cent of their performance bonus was based on those results. Companies that don’t walk the talk and have values expressed but not adhered too just breeds mistrust and toxic cultures.

Leaders set the conditions for whether people in the company feel safe. Nothing has changed in terms of external forces; there has always been competition, and economic ups and downs and different types of disruption. Leaders set the internal conditions of success versus failure. His said, “It’s not the people on the bus that are the problem, it’s the bus”. He used an example of a barista in Los Vegas who had two jobs. A morning shift in one hotel where he thrived, worked hard, loved his job, made an effort to be warm and friendly with customers and an afternoon shift in a different hotel one where he hated his job because the boss was overbearing and cruel. He barely spoke during that shift and just did the bare minimum.  Same worker, different performance.

Business is an infinite game and the finite players get frustrated at the infinite players. The finite players just focus on beating the competition. The infinite players always commit to being a better version of themselves. Those organisations are the most innovative and fun to work with. They are also the most successful.

Simon Sinek was bought to Australia by the Growth Faculty.

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