Leadership expert and author Simon Sinek believes that the core values of a business or organization can be identified by asking the simple question: “Why?”
Sinek released his bestselling book “Start With Why” in 2009. His basic premise is that asking yourself “Why” a business should exist in the first place can generate valuable insights about its deepest core values. He uses the example of the Apple company, whose answer to the question “Why?” might be something like: “To challenge the status quo by thinking differently.” Innovative and elegantly designed computers and mobile devices happen to the output of the company, but they are equally known for their compelling mission statement and cutting-edge ethos. This is what draws buyers to them. As great as their products are, ultimately it is their core values that drive brand loyalty.
Sinek says that if a business has a sincere and compelling “Why” that resonates with like-minded people, it can propel them to stellar and lasting success. The same goes for drawing in loyal employees. If you hire people who have core values aligned with yours, they’ll see their job as more than just a paycheck; they’ll see it as a personal mission. They’ll truly value their jobs and work for you with their blood, sweat and tears.
Simon Sinek’s TED talk from 2010 has consistently been in the top 20 list of most-viewed TED talks of all time. You can watch it here:
Once core values are established as the foundation of a business, it is more likely that everything else involved with the business will just fall into place. Key activities that support the mission statement will organically receive funding and focus, while extraneous activities that aren’t aligned with the company’s core values will be naturally avoided. This will result in less waste, higher productivity, more brand loyalty and ultimately more profits down the road.