Simon Sinek may be best known for popularizing the concept of WHY in his first TED Talk in 2009. It rose to become the third most watched on, with over 40 million views and subtitled in 47 languages.  Simon is the author of multiple best selling books including Start With Why (global best seller), Leaders Eat Last, Together is Better, and Find Your Why.  His latest book is called The Infinite Game.


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  • Leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Humility – They don’t believe their own hype.
    • Their power is accumulated through helping others.
    • “I’m fully aware I’m the same idiot I was back then.”
  • “Vision is like an iceberg.  The great leaders can see what’s beneath the surface.”
    • “I never look at what I’ve done, I look at what I can do.”
    • “I tend to be very future focused.”
  • “People called me the ‘why’ guy… For my tastes, it’s about new ideas, building on ideas.”
    • “We all need to find a vision.”
      • People should practice telling stories about real people, learn how to use metaphors
  • Simon described the difference between the messaging at Apple vs. Microsoft
    • Microsoft (during the Steve Ballmer days) were focused on their competition
    • Apple was focused on helping teachers and designing beautiful products
    • Stop thinking of others as competitors… Instead find worthy rivals
  • In the late 1970’s Milton Friedman said business should maximize profits for shareholders.  For some reason, this idea was adopted and it became the norm.  it was embraced.  It’s terrible.  Prior to this, the idea of mass layoffs didn’t exist as an option for a business.
    • “We all have to become the leader we want to become.”
    • “Leadership is not rank, it’s seeing those around you rise.”
    • “Business is one of the most personal things in the world.”  You should never said, “it’s not personal, it’s just business.”  It’s ALWAYS personal.
  • Great leaders are the ones who think beyond short term vs long term. They are the ones who know it’s not about the next quarter or the next election but about the next generation.
  • The greatness of George Eastman – he was not just how great for Kodak,  but amazing for the game of business as a whole… He created a lot of employee incentives in 1912 that had not been happening up to that point. Stock options, sick days, college tuition reimbursement, etc.
  • “Consistency becomes more important than intensity.”
  • “Where a finite-minded player makes products they think they can sell to people, the infinite-minded player makes products that people want to buy. The former is primarily focused on how the sale of those products benefits the company; the latter is primarily focused on how the products benefit those who buy them.”
  • “Being the best simply cannot be a Just Cause, because even if we are the best (based on the metrics and time frames of our own choosing), the position is only temporary. The game doesn’t end once we get there; it keeps going. And because the game keeps going, we often find ourselves playing defense to maintain our cherished ranking. Though saying “we are the best” may be great fodder for a rah-rah speech to rally a team, it makes for a weak foundation upon which to build an entire company. Infinite-minded leaders understand that “best” is not a permanent state. Instead, they strive to be “better.”
  • “There is an entire section at the book store called “self-help,” there should be a section called “help others.”
  • Why lead? –> “Because you want to see others grow. Your job may be 9 to 5, but leadership is 24-7.”
  • “If you like the idea of taking care of others, you may be suitable to lead.”


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