Start With Why – Leadership Forum

On Friday 3 March, 2017 I along with about 1,500 other people from around Australia had the pleasure of seeing and listening to the inspirational Simon Sinek at the Melbourne Convention Centre. As a bonus to hearing from Simon all morning we then had the pleasure of having Peter Docker conduct a Start With Why: Implementation Workshop for the afternoon – no mean feat with a crowd this large.

There were so many learning’s from this day and I spent a good deal of time over the weekend reflecting on my key takeaways. Starting with one of many quotes of the day “Leadership is accepting responsibility for the growth of another human being, it is like parenthood.” Simon Sinek.

Many of you who have completed or embarking on one of our Regional Community Leadership Programs know that we refer to Simon’s work a lot and so it was a wonderful experience to hear from Simon in Melbourne. If you weren’t impressed with him before the day you certainly would have been at the conclusion. His ability to have 1,500 people completely entranced is an understatement and the entire morning was delivered without fancy presentation slides or YouTube clips. What you got was Simon and a simple flipchart – magic.

Simon talked about how leadership is a choice, it is a hard choice, but when you are committed to the people who follow you, i.e. when they know you have their backs, they will reward you with blood, sweat and tears. Importantly, Simon reiterated during the day that as leaders we are responsible for the people in our organisation, not the job and not the customer.

Matthew Magain summed the Start with Why session up beautifully through his sketch and I personally thank Matt for sharing this on twitter during the morning. 

Simon Summary - Matthew Magain.JPG

CREDIT: Matthew Magain @mattymcg

A key takeaways was when Simon talked about how there are plenty of self-help books BUT as leaders we need to help others, perhaps we need a HELP OTHERS INDUSTRY. I believe we at VRCLP have a strong HELP OTHERS INDUSTRY. Our graduates are empowered and inspired to make a positive difference in their communities and do so in great numbers. They unselfishly give their time and expertise across many areas and take on leadership roles across numerous sectors.

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

Simon Sinek

In the afternoon Peter Docker showed us how we can ‘Harness the Power of Why’ using his five key principles model:

  1. Start With Why – Are we clear on our Why, the compelling higher purpose that inspires us to act as the source of all we do?
  2. Right-To-Left Thinking – Are we embracing Right-To-Left Thinking and are we aligned around a clear declared outcome?
  3. Adaptive Leadership – Have we identified the Adaptive Challenges that we will need to overcome, or are we more drawn to technical fixes?
  4. Being and Doing – Am I Being the leader who’s needed to bring the declared outcome into reality?
  5. Relationship – Have I built sufficient Relationship for the task?

Start With Why – we explored how our Perception of a situation leads us to the Actions we take that produces the Results. If you shift someone’s Perception of a situation they will chose what actions to take.

The WHY is shorthand for our higher purpose/our belief.

We need clarity of WHY (expressed in a simple sentence), discipline of HOW and consistency of WHAT).

Right-To-Left Thinking – empowers you to stand in the future and declare what it is we are going to create in that world. It is a commitment by informing people what it is you are going to do and it is a declaration of that commitment.

Adaptive Leadership – what are the adaptive challenges? Where the nature of the challenge is not clearly defined, the solution requires learning and the approach is to empower (lead) others. Your role is to hold the space whilst others learn.

Being and Doing – Being a leader is not so much about what they are doing but about being there for them both physically and spiritually. Sometimes the best act as a leader is to do nothing but they know you are their supporting them.

Relationship – Take time to build the relationship with people, with your WHY, to your organisation. The more relationship we have with these the more you will accomplish.

Thank you to The Growth Faculty for organising such a wonderful event and thank you to Simon and Peter for a very inspirational day.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Simon Sinek.


Kat Baddeley

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