How to Start with WHY to Clearly Implement Your What

The back of a man in a striped sweater who is looking at a bulletin board with lots of papers on it

Have you ever thought about why some people are more successful than others? Why are some people more innovative, influential, and profitable? The author, Simon Sinek, asked these questions too before researching some of the world’s most outstanding leaders to see what they had in common. From Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Wright Brothers, they all started with why. Sinek’s published book, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Action, explores the importance of knowing your why when it comes to business and leadership.


Sinek explains that people don’t buy what you do. They buy into why you do it. Companies like Apple, Harley Davidson, and even Coca-Cola all have major brand loyalty. You won’t see a Coca-Cola lover buy a Pepsi or an Apple lover purchase an Android. These companies, and many others, have found out how to target people with their’ why.’


In the book, Sinek offers a framework called The Golden Circle. This circle looks like a target. The center point is your why, the circle surrounding is your how, and your outer ring is the what. Every company and leader should know what they are doing, but you have to figure out why you’re doing it to get on target. By learning how to clearly articulate your why, how, and what, you will create authenticity as a leader and in the company. But how do you figure that out?


First, you must articulate your why with clarity. Apple’s why is to “think clearly.” It’s simple but effective because it clearly states why they do what they do. Apple wants to help people to think clearly, and their devices are a huge help in many people’s lives. When trying to think of your why, make sure it fits with what you do and is clearly stated so there is no room for confusion.


Once you understand your why, you have to focus on how to implement your why. The how of your leadership or business are the values, principles, and goals of what you do. Sinek believes that knowing your how will give you the ability to stick to what is essential in your leadership. Staying true to how you vow to accomplish your goals is one of the most challenging steps.


Finally, once you understand your why and have solidified your how, implementing your what suddenly becomes more straightforward. Stick by your why and how so that your what becomes trusted among those around you. Your what is your services, the products you sell, people you hire, marketing, public relations, and even your office’s culture. Keep reinforcing your why and how in all of those things to build transparency and trust within your workplace. To learn more about your why, how, and what, get a copy of the book. And check out my review of another of his books, The Infinite Game.


Pivot Your Business Successfully During Times of Crisis

When COVID-19 hit and temporarily closed businesses across the country, many leaders were unsure of where to go next. While many were able to re-open doors, many states are being forced to shut down again as cases rise. With such uncertainty of what is around the corner, it is essential to understand how to pivot your business to meet your needs. 

When thinking of how to change your business, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, you are not alone. Many businesses have successfully pivoted and have documented their success. Below are three steps that business leaders have utilized in their time of change.

Accept that Pivoting is Essential 

Businesses have to pivot their processes and goals every day, not just in a crisis. According to Small Business Chronicles, “The world is changing every day: the population is changing, customer trends are changing, technology is changing and the economy is changing.” As a leader, you have to accept that change is inevitable and be ready for the changes to come your way, even when we aren’t in a pandemic. After accepting this fact, change will become easier to manage.

Be Okay with Remote Working and Being Online

One of the most important things a business can do is accept and fully embrace the remote work setting. As a leader, you need to understand that your employees are also going through a rough time. From plans being canceled, not seeing loved ones, and having limited access to childcare, many things are changing in their lives. Be flexible in the remote workspace, and show your workers that you care. Embracing the online work environment can increase employee productivity even while at home. 

If it’s possible for your business, now is the perfect time to transfer services to an online setting. Many leaders have wanted to advertise more products online, and now is the ideal time to make the switch. Making your products more readily available can positively impact your business even when your doors are closed.

Don’t Rush

Pivoting can be hard, and pivots often need investment, time, and critical thinking to implement. Talk through your ideas for pivoting your business with people you respect as leaders. Getting advice, taking time, and carefully planning your pivot ideas are essential to successfully rolling out any new business ideas.

There are many important resources that business leaders can utilize right now, including our services. We can connect you with other business leaders who are facing small and large business changes to stay afloat during the pandemic. Visit our website today

Showing Leadership by Taking Care of Your Team

Business Team

Now more than ever, it’s important that you are taking care of your team. After all, they are the people who help take care of you day after day. Some believe that you should prioritize customers, investors, and board members before your employees, but that isn’t necessarily the best method. If you prioritize your team, they will continue to prioritize you and keep your business running effectively.


Your Team is Everything

An unhappy team can cause issues aplenty for you and your business. Your team is the foundation of what you do. They take care of the customers, they make the product, they help think of new products, and they market the product. Take all that away, and you only have yourself left. The investors, board, and clients that you’ve been prioritizing will go away very quickly. Simply stated: your team makes everything happen. If you take them for granted, fail to recognize their talents, and don’t prioritize their health, they may be apt to underperform, frequently call in sick, or altogether quit.


Team Over Customers

There’s a reason they say the customer is always right, so of course, you want to prioritize them. They’re the people that provide the money that keeps your business going so you can pay your team and continue to grow your business. It can be easy to fall into the trap of overpromising your customers and placing the burden on staff members. This can lead to employee burnout and unmet expectations for the customers. This is a surefire way to sink your business. Make sure you are prioritizing your team first. This will allow them to perform at their best, put out their strongest work, and make customers happy.


Team Over Investors/Board Members

Your team is your source of creativity. Listen to them. Help foster that creativity and encourage it. Put value in their ideas. If you’re focusing too much on what the board or investors are telling you to do or the products they want you to make, your team may not buy in as well. Everyone’s opinion is important, and to an extent, your board and investors control some of your decisions but make sure everyone on the team is on board with the decisions being made. Their opinions about the business and products matter, too.




Lack of Trust and Elevation, The Blocker

able to elevate

Lack of Trust and Elevation, the Blocker


The discussion ensued within the Executive Peer Group; “Why am I not able to elevate faster and delegate better?” became the question of the group.

To focus on higher priority opportunities, executives must elevate out of the daily grind and noise that is daily business. The question is how to make the behavioral changes in one’s self that will allow one to elevate. “How do I let go?” is echoed around the table with a tone of frustration.

As most executives understand, delegation of tasks, operational duties, decision making, and spending need to move down into the organization for the executive to move on and up. Logic says this is so true and is seen when viewing another successful executive delegate. Yet there are emotion issues and behaviors that come into play and limit the ability to let go.

There are many barriers, yet we are addressing two key ones that can move any executive to a great elevation and faster letting go behavior.

“Where does my worth come from?” is often the unasked question of the executive. Moving from a frame of “what I do is who I am” to “what my team does is who I am” can be daunting for some. When one has looked to their personal accomplishments to define their worth, what I have accomplished with my own hands defines that worth for years; now to transition valuing your worth on the basis of others accomplishments can become a challenge.

Instead of instant gratification from a task completed, the executive must wait for a much longer time to experience success and the feeling of completion. A few ideas to aid this transition are having a very clear future vision to focus on which allows one to be above the “noise” of the day. In concert with the clear vision, what is the cadence of communication on progress towards the vision? Having a process of communications with the team, such as a weekly update and problem-solving meeting, can help the executive stay on top of the progress, see progress and build trust in the team’s capabilities. This also allows the executive to see challenges and weak areas and address them in a timely manner.

We find successfully elevated executives have such a process in place. This helps them to let go sooner and in the proper sequence.

“What don’t I Trust?” is the question that came from the executive group. This is a very telling question for the executive because if I fully trusted the person or team, would there be any hesitation about delegation?

Any executive that hesitates in delegation and elevation needs to be asking this question. Now the answers are many. Do they have the experience I have? Are they capable of getting the job done right? Will they have the right solution? Will their choices hurt the company? What skill sets are they missing? Will they give the business away? and many more.

Whatever the answers are, the executive needs to be clear and honest about it. Then get into action and address those trust areas so they can then trust, delegate and elevate.

In our work with hundreds of fast growth executives, owners and CEO’s; these two barriers seem to provide the greatest impact on their ability to elevate faster and drive the company forward vs being caught up in the noise of operations.

If you are an executive, consider these two points in moving yourself forward. Investors, are your founders caught in this barrier trap? Ask them these questions and help them move forward.

Of course, giving us a call would be another option.




Harlan Goerger is President of H. Goerger & Associates Inc. dba CEO Solutions and is focused on developing CEO/Founders of fast growth companies for scalability and profit. Utilizing peer groups, individual coaching and multiple other tools to develop the capability and capacity of growth-oriented CEO/Founders.