Inspiration innovation new ideas: act like a real leader!


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Text comes from: Das unendliche Spiel: Strategien für dauerhaften Erfolg (2019), Finde dein Warum: Der praktische Wegweiser zu deiner wahren Bestimmung (2018), Gute Chefs essen zuletzt: Warum manche Teams funktionieren – und andere nicht (2017), Frag immer erst: warum: Wie Top-Firmen und Führungskräfte zum Erfolg inspirieren (2014) from Simon O. Sinek, published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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We can all learn inspirational behavior. With a little discipline, leaders or organizations can inspire others within and outside of organizations and thus implement their ideas and visions. We can all learn to lead.

Inspiration innovation new ideas: act like a real leader!

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Simon O. Sinek Simon O. SinekSimon O. Sinek is an author and management consultant, best known for his Ted Talk.

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What makes good leadership?

What exactly is good leadership? This is about a natural tendency to think, act, and communicate that enables a few leaders to inspire those around them. But even if there are such "born leaders" who have already come into the world with a disposition to inspire, that does not mean that this ability is reserved for them alone.

This is not just about repairing something that went wrong. Rather, I wrote this tex as a guide on how to focus on what works and reinforce it. I don't want to discard other people's solutions. Your answers, provided they are based on solid facts, will in most cases be entirely correct. Of course, if we start with the wrong question, if we don't understand what it is about, then ultimately correct answers will lead us in the wrong direction ... possibly. Because the truth always comes out in the end. The following examples deal with personalities and organizations that have internalized inspiring behavior in a very natural way. It is those who always ask: "Why?"

Is inspiration more important than resources?

It was an ambitious goal. The public interest was great. The professionals were eager to help. There was enough money. Samuel Pierpont Langley had everything it takes to be successful when he set out to be the first person to fly in an airplane at the dawn of the 20th century. As mathprofessorwho had taught at Harvard and was widely respected as director of the Smithsonian Institution.

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His friends included some of the most powerful men in government and business, including Andrew Carnegie and Alexander Graham Bell. Langley was provided by the War Department for the then enormous sum of 50 dollars for his project. He united the best minds of his time, a true “dream team” of knowledge and technical know-how. Langley and his team had access to the best material, and the press followed him at every turn. People from all over America were captivated by his story and eagerly awaited for him to reach his destination. Given the team he had assembled and the resources he could draw on, success was guaranteed. Was that really him?

The power of the underdogs

A few hundred kilometers away, the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright were working on their own flying machine. Her great passion for flying sparked enthusiasm and commitment from a small, dedicated group of people in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio. There was no funding for her Company. No government resources. No influential connections. Not one of the team had a university degree, not even a college degree, including Wilbur and Orville. But this team, which gathered in a humble bike repair shop, realized their vision. A small group of men witnessed the first flight in human history on December 17, 1903. But why did the Wright brothers succeed when a better equipped, better funded, and better trained team failed?

Success by asking why?

It wasn't luck. Both the Wright and Langley brothers were highly motivated. They all had strong beliefs. All of them had sharp minds and they had the same goal. But only the Wright brothers were able to truly inspire their team and lead them to develop a technology that would change the world. Only the Wright brothers always asked "Why?" First.

University of California students were the first to publicly burn their warrants on campus in 1965 to protest US involvement in the Vietnam War. Northern California was the breeding ground for opposition to the government and the establishment; the images of the clashes and unrest in Berkeley and Oakland went around the world and were the initial spark for the emergence of sympathetic movements in the USA and Europe.

The battlefield of innovation

In 1976, almost three years after the end of the US military involvement in the Vietnam War, a revolution of a different kind began there. They wanted to be influential, to be influential, they even wanted to challenge people's ideas of how the world works. But these young revolutionaries did not throw stones or take up arms against an authoritarian regime. For Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, the founders of Apple Computers, the battlefield was economy and the weapon of their choice of home computers.

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When Wozniak built the Apple I, the personal computer (PC) revolution was in its infancy. Computer technology, which was just beginning to attract attention at the time, was seen primarily as a business tool. Computers were too complicated and too expensive for the average person. But Wozniak, a man for whom money was no motivation, had the vision of using the new technology for a nobler end. He saw the PC as a means that gave the little man the opportunity to start his own business. If he could make it available to the individual, then, he thought, the majority could do roughly the same thing as a company that was equipped with far greater resources. The pc could create equal opportunities and change the way the world worked. Woz designed the Apple I and improved technology with the Apple II to make it cheaper and easier to use.

Visions do not yet make a sales success

There's no point if a product is visionary or brilliant but nobody buys it. 21-year-old Steve Jobs, Wozniak's best friend at the time, knew exactly what to do. Although he had sales experience with used electronics, he was much more than just a good salesman. He wanted to do something meaningful in this world, and he wanted to do it by starting a company. Apple was his tool to make his revolution.

In its first fiscal year with a single product, Apple had revenues of $ 100 million. After two years sales reached ten million dollars. In their fourth year, they sold $ 3 million worth of computers. By its sixth year, Apple Computer was worth a billion dollars and had over 000 employees. Jobs and Woz weren't the only participants in the personal computer revolution. They weren't the only smart guys in the business; in fact, they knew next to nothing about it. What made Apple special wasn't their ability to build such a rapidly growing company. It wasn't their ability to see what was new about the pcs. What made Apple special was the company's ability to apply the same pattern of behavior over and over again. Unlike any other competitor, Apple challenged conventional thinking in the computer industry, electronics components industry, music industry, cell phone industry, and entertainment industry in general. The reason is simple. Apple inspired. Apple always asks why first.

The Power of Dreams: What Makes Great Men and Women?

He wasn't perfect. He had his weaknesses. He wasn't the only one who had suffered in America before the civil rights movement, and there were a number of other charismatic speakers. But Martin Luther King Jr. had a special gift. He knew how to inspire people.

Dr. King knew that to make the civil rights movement successful, to create real, lasting change, it would take more people than him and his closest allies. Rousing words and beautiful speeches alone would not be enough. You needed people, tens of thousands of average citizens, united by a single vision: to change the country. At 28:1963 AM on August 11, 00, they sent the message to Washington that it was time for America to change course. The organizers of the civil rights movement did not send out thousands of invitations, nor was there a website to commemorate the event. But the people came. They poured in. In total, a quarter of a million people turned up in the center of the nation's capital in time to hear the words that went down in history uttered by the man who led a movement that would change America forever: “I have a dream. «

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How real leaders motivate people

The ability to motivate so many people of all colors and races from all over the country to gather together on the right day and at the right time was something special. Although others knew what had to change in America to enforce civil rights for all, only Martin Luther King was able to inspire an entire country to change, not just for the good of a small minority, but for the good from all. Martin Luther King always asked why. There are leaders and there are people who lead. With only six percent market share in the US and three percent worldwide, Apple is not the market leader among home computer manufacturers. Yet the company is a leader in the computer industry, and now a leader in other industries as well. Martin Luther King's experiences were not unique, and yet he made a nation change.

The Wright brothers weren't the most potent contenders in the race to make the first manned, motorized flight a reality, but it was they who led us into the new era of aviation, and in this way completely changed the world in which we live. The goals were no different from anyone else's, and their systems and processes were repeated with ease. But the Wright, Apple, and Martin Luther King brothers were different from their rivals. They themselves stood out from the norm and their effect on people could not simply be copied. You're part of an exclusive group of leaders who do something very, very special: you inspire us. Almost all people or organizations need to motivate others to act. Some want to motivate people to buy. Others seek support or votes. Others try to motivate those around them to work harder or better, or simply to follow the rules. The ability to motivate others is in itself not difficult to achieve. It is usually associated with an external factor. Tempting offers or threats of punishment often trigger the behavior we strive for. General Motors, for example, has been so successful in motivating people to buy cars that it has sold more cars than any other automaker for over 75 years. But even though it was a leader in its industry, it wasn't leading.

The power of inspiration

Great leaders, on the other hand, are able to inspire other people to act. Those who can inspire give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with external incentives or anticipated benefits. Those who really lead are able to form a following of people who do not act because they are persuaded, but because they have been inspired. For those who are inspired, the motivation to act is very personal. They are less likely to be influenced by incentives. Those who are inspired are willing to pay more, inconvenience, or even suffer personal suffering. Those who inspire will form a following of people - supporters, voters, customers, workers - who do not act for the good of the whole because they have to, but because they want to. Although the number of organizations and leaders with the natural ability to inspire us is relatively small, we encounter them in all shapes and sizes. They can be found in the private and public sectors. They exist in every industry - in customer sales as well as in wholesale. Regardless of where they are, they all exert an above-average influence in their industry.

You have the most loyal customers and the most loyal employees. They are often more profitable than others in their industry. They're more innovative, and most importantly, they're able to keep all of this up for the long haul. Many of them are changing their industries. Some of them change the world. The Wright brothers, Apple and Dr. King are just three examples. Harley-Davidson, Disney, and Southwest Airlines are three others. John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were also able to inspire. Regardless of where they are from, they all have one thing in common: All of these leaders and companies think, act and communicate, regardless of their size and industry, in exactly the same way. And that's exactly the opposite of what everyone else is doing.

Learn to think and act like a real leader

What if we could all learn to think, act, and communicate like those who inspire? I imagine a world in which not just a small group of the chosen have the ability to inspire, but the majority. Studies show that 80 percent of Americans don't have their dream job. If there were more people who know how to build an organization that inspires, we could live in a world where the statistics would be reversed - a world where 80 percent would love their job.

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People who enjoy going to work are more productive and creative. They go home happier and they have happier families. They treat their colleagues, their clients, and their customers better. Inspired employees make stronger companies and stronger economies. I hope that I can inspire others to do the things that inspire them and that together we can create the companies, the economy and the world where trust and loyalty are the norm rather than the exception. This text is not intended to tell you what to do and how to do it. My aim is not to provide a guide to action. My goal is to provide a rationale for action. I challenge everyone who is open to the new, who is looking for long-term success and who believes that success requires the help of others. From now on, always ask why.


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