Why vs Who

Sales blogger Anthony Ianarrino posted recently about some trouble he was having with Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why”. In Sinek’s well-known TED Talk he uses the example of Apple to suggest organisations should always start with their “Why”. Don’t sell What you do (…great computers), or How you do it (…beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly) but concentrate on your Why (…we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently).

Ianarrino uses the same example Sinek uses and suggests:

“You are not buying Apple because of who they are. You are buying Apple because of who you are (or who you want to be). It’s not their “why” that compels you to buy. It is your “who” that compels you. You are telling the world who you are.”

That is, it is not Apple executives sitting around thinking about their purpose that got you to buy an Apple Watch, it was you who thought how good you would feel if you had an Apple Watch.

Who is right? I think their arguments are one and the same. If you are going to have a successful business, you’d better make potential customers feel good about themselves.

Now, turn to my favourite people. In-house advisors in organisations. Do you make people feel good about themselves? If you don’t, ask yourself how you can make them feel good while also ensuring they deliver what you need. If you can, your impact will increase exponentially. Apple went from about 10,000 employees in 2001 to something like 150,000 today.