Why Together is Better with Simon Sinek

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Simon Sinek, author of Together is Better.

...accelerating value by proof analytics is the podcast for marketing, communications, sales and operations leaders who want to see their business value clearly and succeed, learn how leaders are closing the gap between creative work and business impact through raw conversations. Don't believe me. Check out the show for yourself from the CFO perspective it's value is what type of revenue generation earnings cash flow that is only adding to the growth of the of the enterprise. You know, another dimension would be how our margins performing are we, you know, we're getting the right value by seeing margin expansion by creating products services that are generating you know that incremental value to the organization and I think from my lens, you know that it's monetary in many dimensions, right? It's not you know, thinking about okay what say from an employee perspective, other perspectives, but as a leader, as the finance leader, as you're looking to grow the revenue earnings and cash flow of an organization, it will only create more opportunities for your employees, for your suppliers, for your customers based on those services that you're creating. So to me that's how I view to be value for more. Subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts, this is B two B growth. My name is Bendy Block. Welcome back and today excited to bring you an old episode, a conversation that we had with Simon Sinek. Now you'll know Simon from books like start with Y or Leaders Eat last. Why together is better. That's actually the focal point of today's conversation. I'm bringing this episode back for several reasons. Simon hits on a number of things that I thought could be helpful. He talks about millennials in the workplace, he talks about leaders taking on a student mentality. And so as we jump into this conversation, just be thinking what are some of the things that the practical takeaways that Simon gives us here, That we can apply as we go into 2022? I think you'll find this conversation extremely insightful. So, let's jump in to our conversation with Simon Sinek, welcome back to the BBB Growth Show. We're here today with Simon Sinek, he is the best selling author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last Simon, How you doing today? I'm well, thank you. So, Simon, you've been all over the place lately. I've recently seen your viral video about millennials in the workplace. Obviously your your ted talk about starting with Why and your recent book together is better. A little book of inspiration is something I dove into and I've already read through it twice. I've loved this book and that's what we're gonna be talking about in today's interview. My first question Simon is around kind of, the structure of the book. You made such a unique book. It's similar to a Children's book and that there's only a sentence or two on each page, It's beautifully illustrated and you even infused one of the pages in the book with the smell of optimism. Um so could you tell our listeners what inspired you to write a book like this? Sure, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something that was a departure for my for my usual work. And you know, I wanted to capture the essence that runs through the thread that runs through all my work, which is where social animals and we need each other. And instead of making a big biological sort of anthropological argument for it, which is what I usually do. I took inspiration from, from Children's books. I have a young niece and nephew, and I'm always struck by how well the Children's book communicates, you know, a moral or value. And so even though it's for adults, I made it in the form of a Children's book, and it just captures that very simple message that we are better together and we need each other. And I also used the book as a way of saying thank you. You know, I recognize that my own career, it wasn't because...

...of me, it was because of all the people who believed in me or took risks on me or introduced me to people who help me out. So it's my little way of saying thank you as well and recognizing all the people who helped me along my journey. I love it, this is time. And I wanted to tweet every single page in this book and obviously we can't go through the entire thing on this interview, but I love to touch on a few of the just the incredible bits of wisdom that you shared in it. And the first one pretty early in the book, you ask a really bold question. It says, if you say your job is something you don't plan on doing forever, then why are you doing it now? That is such, that's such a powerful question. Can you unpack that idea for us? Well, you hear people say that all the time, you say you know, how is work? And they say it's fine, you know, you know, I don't plan on doing this forever. You know, and at the end of the day, there's a finite number of years we're going to work. And you know, obviously I'm being sort of I'm sort of exaggerating the point in the quote, but you know, the goal is is to try and find work that we love to do the things that we love and there is a finite amount of time. So how long can we wait? And I appreciate that people have responsibility and bills to pay in mouths to feed. I get all that, but why should we suffer or be working a job that we don't love simply because, you know, we've convinced ourselves that we can't find the thing that we love. That's all. And so do you think that's the crux of it really is the fear that we are going to be able to truly find something we love. I think it's a, it's a combination of many things for many people. As I said before, I think some people give up on finding something they love because they give in to what they say is responsibility. I think some people believe there is nothing better out there. I think some people believe that the devil they know is better than the devil. They don't sometimes the unknown is scarier than the thing that you've got. There's any number of reasons, some of which are quite legitimate, but the goal is to find work we love and that is possible. It is possible to find people with whom we want to, we want to work with every single day. This next quote from the book, you said safe is good for sidewalks and swimming pools. Life requires risk if we are to get anywhere. Can you share just some, some examples of what his risk looked like for you kind of along your journey Simon I mean throughout my career, when things really started to get going, I would quit and go do something else, but you know, I, I like a challenge and not everything I've worked on, worked out well, you know, I quit a good job with a fast growing career to go work for another company to work on something that was difficult and it failed. It didn't do well and that's okay granted, I didn't have family, you know, and I can, I was younger and I could afford to take those kinds of risks, but I like a challenge and I like, I like difficult things that I don't necessarily know the answer to. And so I find that when my career sort of finds a pace, it gets, there's a boredom that sets in, you know what I mean? The challenge is the growth, but then there's a plateau where I sort of pull my hair out and if I don't, if I don't make a change, I'll accidentally sabotage what I'm doing anyway, so I might as well make the change because I'm going to fail either way. Was that did that I noticed for me, I'm gonna fail you, I'm gonna definitely fail if I stay in what I'm doing, at least I risk some new growth if I moved. That, that makes sense. That makes sense. Has that been a characteristic in you since you were really young? I noticed for me that I noticed that probably probably in my early twenties, but was that something that that developed later in your career? Has it been that way since you were young? Um Well, I mean, we grew up as a family traveling all over the world, so every few years we would change countries and change schools and change everything. So it was probably ingrained into me from a fairly young age that it doesn't matter if you're happy at school and you've made good friends, you'll find happiness at another school and you make new friends, you know? Yeah, and so I think the ability to change from one to the other, you know, extreme, I probably find it a little less scary than some people because the way I grew up. Okay, so I mean, there's a section in the book titled Find a Vision. Can you talk to...

...us about why this section wasn't named? Have a vision? Yeah, I mean, you hear this all the time, you know, you hear, you know, people like me and say things, you know, you gotta have a vision, you know, and I think that's an unfair burden to put on people, like not everybody is steve jobs, you know, but I do believe that we have to find a vision. I believe that you can find a vision that somebody else has articulated whether it is steve jobs or martin Luther king or whatever it is and you believe in it. And that belief in their vision is so powerful, You make it your own and it becomes your vision, but that doesn't mean you have to originate the vision. What it means is I do believe everybody has the responsibility to find division. I don't believe everybody has the responsibility to originate a vision to conceive a vision, right? But that, but culturally there's almost this assumption that each individual should have their own vision and hearing all the time, All the time. What's your vision? What's your vision? What's your visual? I don't it's unbelievably stressful. I don't have one. Or then we end up articulating nonsense. You know, even entrepreneurs, like not every entrepreneurs to have a vision too, but they do have to find one that they're willing to build their business around to advance. You know? So I think it alleviates the overwhelming and unnecessary stress of quote unquote having a vision. Yeah, I totally agree. This next quote from your book, Simon says, a team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other. Can you share maybe some practical ways that you've seen teams create a culture of trust. Yeah, I mean the trust is a feeling and it's born out of the environment we're in. And so trust comes from good leadership. If there's good leadership, it doesn't necessarily mean the person in charge. That's not leadership is not necessarily rank. Authority comes with rank. But leadership is the choice to take care of the people to the left and right of me. And in a position of leadership, it affords you greater scale who take responsibility to the more people. But when there is a good leader on the team, what you'll find is an environment is created in which trust can thrive when we feel that our leaders care about us as human beings, the natural human response, the biological responses? Trust and cooperation. when we do not feel that our leaders care about us or that they care more about numbers, the natural human responses, cynicism, paranoia, mistrust and self interest. You know, the thing to do is is to become a student leadership. That's where trust emerges. That makes perfect sense. So after I saw your millennial video, shortly after I watched a video from, from Gary Vaynerchuk and he's a huge proponent of, he's even made the number two person in this organization a Chief hard officer, He's huge proponent of culture and creating that trust within his teams. And so that seemed to be a big part of the video, you know, about millennials in the workplace as well as they want that trust that want to be trusted in their work environment. So it makes perfect sense that leadership, like studying leadership, becoming a better leader yourself. We're talking to a lot of folks that lead marketing and sales teams on the show and the more you study leadership, ultimately, the more that you're going to cultivate that trust in your organization. This next one Simon that I want to talk about, you said leadership is an education and the best leaders think of themselves as the students, not the teachers. So obviously in your case, you know, you're writing books, you're on stages in front of thousands of people, you're in viral videos all over the internet. It would be really easy for you to look at yourself kind of as a teacher instead of a student, A lot of folks that are listening to this, Their chief marketing officers, They're, you know, they're leading big teams. It would be very easy for them to see themselves as the teacher instead of the student. What are some ways that you position yourself as a student so that you, this really rings true for you? Well, it's easy. I don't see myself as an expert in my own subject. I mean, it's simple. I don't think I know everything. I think I have a lot more to learn and I see myself as a student of my own subject. I may be a more advanced student than some, but, but I'm a student nonetheless, you know, and all...

...the best leaders that I've met throughout my career, whether their business, military government, wherever they're from. They all see themselves as students. They have a curious mind and some of them are super, super senior and yet they still read books and still read articles and they still like having conversations with folks like me about the subject and they like dissecting things and they have an insatiable curiosity about the subject of leadership. I think that's one of the things that makes them good leaders. I'm very, very suspicious of anybody regardless of how experienced they are, who say I know exactly what I'm doing and I'm exceptionally good leader, Thank you very much. I don't need your health. You know, can you imagine a surgeon who thinks they know everything like that's scary. So how can we, if we wouldn't trust a surgeon who thinks they know everything, why would you trust a leader who thinks they know everything, you know, regardless of their experience. So, I think it's essential and it's not just words anybody can say it. You actually have to, like, I love learning about this stuff, the reason I keep doing new work and having new ideas, because I'm talking about this stuff all the time with people and I love learning from people and I love picking up little tidbits here and there and that's where I get all my stories and it's where I want, you know, it's it's people introduced me to people and and it's fun and I travel around and have lunches and with people that I just want to meet, you know, So I think you have to be a student of something if you want to advance in that in knowledge or practice. Yeah, I totally agree. I love that. So, this last statement that I want to talk about from your book Simon before I I ask you a question about the video that's recently gone viral about millennials. This quote says, it says when we are close to ideas, what we hear is criticism, but when we're open to criticism, what we get is advice. Can you unpack that for us? Look, there are people throughout our careers who want what's best for us and sometimes they know how to give us the council and sometimes they don't, but they want to give us counsel and if we aren't interested in hearing what others have to say about us, then we're going to think the world is against us or they're against us or they just don't understand us. But if we're open to the fact that there's always room for improvement, accepting that not everybody's good at giving feedback, we become much more relaxed and able to try and discern and hear what they're trying to tell us rather than simply attack or get defensive. And it's a skill, it's a learning skill. I haven't always been good at it, I'm getting better at it, you know? But when somebody sort of goes at me, I sort of really like if I've upset somebody or they trying or even if I didn't upset somebody, somebody just wants to give me feedback on how I did. You know, I try to be open to it so that they'll give me more feedback. If I put up my defenses, then people are just going to stop giving me feedback and I'm going to stop learning and growing so it's my responsibility to create an environment in which people feel that they can approach me and then I am open to feedback so that they'll continue to give it to me Yeah, for me that's an ideal that I try to hold true to, but the reality is when someone corrects me my natural, you know, I try to hold this in and I try not to react out of this, but there's this feeling of why I want to justify what I did or I want to explain to them like oh well you but you just have miss misunderstood, you know what that action was supposed to do or instead of just receiving it and allowing it to help me get better, I want to push back on it. What would you say to the like to folks that are kind of new to embracing this? You know, really accepting kind of critical feedback. Are there any like anything that you would say to the person that is trying to embrace this, but they're just having a tough time with it. The thing is to is to have empathy which is to always walk into these situations with the belief that what somebody has to tell you is worth hearing, right? And if you don't understand it or it's coming across as aggressive or personal, then try and defuse the situation yourself rather than inflame the situation, right? It's good old fashioned empathy. I understand what you're saying, I hear, I hear that I've upset you let me try and understand what it is so I can take full responsibility, you know and understand that sometimes we do say and do things...

...that affect other people and how they feel and we have to take responsibility even if it was unintentional. You know it happens so often where somebody is upset and they sort of constructively constructively try and tell us and we go well I didn't mean to do it so I don't have to say I'm sorry you know and I was like well if you swing around and you accidentally hit the person next you with your bag you turn around and you say sorry you didn't mean to do it but you're not going to turn to, the person said well I don't have to say sorry, I didn't mean to do it, you know so you can still take accountability for your actions and words even even if it is unintentional. Hey everybody Logan with sweet fish here, if you're a regular listener of GDP growth, you know that I'm one of the co hosts of the show but you may not know that. I also head up the sales team here at sweet fish. So for those of you in sales or sales ops I wanted to take a second to share something that's made us insanely more efficient lately. Our team has been using lead I. Q. For the past few months and what used to take Us four hours gathering contact data Now takes us only one where 75 percent more efficient. We're able to move faster with outbound prospecting and organizing our campaigns is so much easier than before. I'd highly suggest you guys check out lead I. Q. As well. You can check them out at lead I. Q dot com. That's L E A D I Q dot com. Alright, let's get back to the show. So Simon obviously that the video that has recently gone viral millennials in the workplace, a lot of the folks listening to this are managing teams of millennials and there are so many good pieces from that video for the you know, one or two people listening to this that have not already seen the video. Could you kind of share the overall thesis of of that interview that you did and how what the the big takeaway that you wanted folks to have from that piece of content. So almost every single talker meeting I have invariably somebody will ask me the millennial question. You know these are people and companies who are struggling to lead millennials and so when I show up they asked me if I have an opinion and so I had to have an opinion. So I, you know I asked around and made my own observations and I formed an opinion. I made some observations and this group of people is accused of being entitled and narcissistic and a whole bunch of other things and I think some of it is I think it requires us to be a little empathetic and how they grew up, every generation has their issues. People who grew up in the depression or miserly people who grew up in the 19 seventies during Vietnam War and Richard Nixon mistrust authority. You know, it doesn't make them better or worse. It just means I have a little empathy for how they grew up. Well let's have a little empathy for how this young generation of employees grew up also. They grew up in a world of instant gratification. You know, with amazon you can get something the next day, you can log on stream a movie. They grew up in a world of where many of them were over coddled by their parents. I hear stories of this is a true story. Kid comes to to work late and apologizes that he's late because his parents didn't wake him. Apparently has a webcam, he's in college and he's a webcam in his dorm room and his parents check and make sure he's awake at the right time and if he's not up they call him call him call him until he wakes up. But you have to be kidding me, You know um I don't mean he's not overly coddled and unfortunately these stories that we hear, although anecdotal are not onesies and twosies, there's an overwhelming number of these stories that we hear. I've heard stories of parents who call employers and follow are following up on the on the job interview for their kids, you know, and it goes on. So I think to some degree these kids are subject have been subjected to parenting techniques and strategies that may not benefit them as adults. And it's starting to show up now that they're in the workforce. The thing that I pulled away. I mean that that I love so much about what you said is Yeah, that's the reality and we can either complain about it Or we can...

...adjust our our leadership to adjust to it and to help. I'm tired of hearing people complain about millennials and at the end of the day have a little empathy for how they grew up and at the end of the day, companies have to adjust the way they do business. It's 100% true. Which is if we have a more insecure or impatient or technology addicted group of people working for us whether we like it or not, those are our employees and that extends beyond the one generation by the way. But we have a responsibility to build work environments in which they can learn patients, they can learn how to build strong lasting relationships where we teach them and help them build their self confidence. We have no choice. But unfortunately, too many companies are built on theories. Leftovers from the eighties and nineties where you do rank and yank and we have annual layoffs to balance the books. We use human beings to balance books. In other words, we're asking people to work in environments where they don't feel safe and they don't feel like they can be themselves and they don't feel like they can ask for help and then we complain that their narcissistic and entitled, I think it's a bit of a backwards logic. What has been the biggest or maybe a surprising response that you've heard Simon since obviously this video hit so big. What's the pushback been? Or you know, just been a lot of folks praising it. What's, what's that been like? Overall people have been very complimentary, which is nice. The pushback has come in sort of two distinct buckets. one is from older people who think that I'm letting millennials off the hook and saying they have to take responsibility for themselves and that's not what I said. Of course they take responsibility for themselves. What I'm saying is have a little empathy for the situation that they're in and maybe we can help them out. You know, uh you know, people got some people that really irate when I said that it's a company's responsibility. Well, who else is responsibilities? I mean it's your company. I mean that's and their point is they have to fix themselves and that's like just telling an alcoholic you do it. You know, it's like you get over your alcoholism. It's like, well, yes, that's true. But how about some help, You know, that's why we have organizations like alcoholics anonymous because it's too hard to do alone. That's why we ask for help. So that's the point there. And the other bucket of criticism I get is from some millennials who get very upset when I do air quotes around impact. And my point there was that millennials say they won't have an impact, but they're not specific about the kind of impact that would happen if they don't know and you kind of have to know the impact you want to have in the world, right? Do you want to, you want to fix the migration patterns of european swallows? Is that the impact you want to have? You know, is it environmental, is it poverty? Is it is it happiness is a joy. Like what impact in the world you want to kind of every impact and not every impact will inspire you. Some people are inspired by saving polar bears and some people aren't, you know, and so it's the generic have impact that that is not helpful. But overall the thing that I'm most excited about is the number of millennials and parents of millennials who really took what I said to heart and it helped them feel that it wasn't them. Lots of millennials have written to us and come to me and said thank you, I thought it was me, thank you. I thought I was the one, I thought I was insecure and I was struggling and I didn't and I thought it was me and it's a huge weight off their back that allows them to now ask for help and address the challenge, which is which is huge. Which is huge. You know, and I keep hearing, you know, unfortunately suicide is on the rise amongst this young generation and I've had 33 experiences of suicides around me from just a few days ago, the son of a close friend of one of our colleagues, somebody on our team committed suicide. And I've heard I've heard this unfortunately too many times, which is nobody saw it coming. They thought he was a happy kid. Everything on his social media made him look happy. He presented himself as happy that literally no one saw any signs and then he killed himself. And I've heard that multiple times. I've heard that multiple times that it's happening with...

...people that you just were not expecting it. And the point is this is a Snapchat, instagram world of a generation that's really good at filtering and curating the way they want to be seen and so we cannot get away with simply saying, you know, anyway, I'm really proud that this group of the people who resonated with the millennia that resonated with feel that they can now speak up and say I'm struggling or I need help. They're not compartmentalizing it and hiding it. I'm really, I'm inspired by that. Yeah, it seems like you look at that problem of corporate cultures not adapting to or being empathetic and it seems like for the leaders listening to this seems like it could very easily be taken as well. That's that's not something you know, I can really have an impact on but I think it absolutely can be in the teams that you're leading. Maybe you're not in a position to shape the entire culture of the entire organization, maybe you're not the ceo but in the team that you're leading with the millennials that you are that you're leading, you can have empathy for the 10 15 20 folks that you're leading and I think the results of of what that empathy is gonna bring will bring results that other folks leading teams will want to see and they're gonna start asking you, what the heck are you doing? Like how are you getting results from this? You know, group of folks that a group of quote unquote kids that they're not seeing results from. So I loved that video. If you're listening to this and you have not already watched millennials in the workplace, make sure to do that. Also go pick up together is better. You can buy it anywhere. Books are sold seriously. I wanted to tweet every single page in this book. You are going to love it. Simon if there's someone listening and they want to stay connected with all the things that you've got going on, where's the best place for them to do that. I mean all the usual places, you know, twitter instagram facebook linkedin, you know, wherever you like to get your fix love, it's all the usual places has been fantastic. I've really enjoyed this conversation and kind of just giving light to, to your book and the heartbeat behind it. I think it's going to, to use your air quotes around impact. I think it's actually going to impact a ton of leaders. So I really appreciate you writing it and I appreciate your time this morning. Thanks James, I really appreciate it. I love the wide ranging variety that happens in this conversation. There's so many different avenues that James and Simon go down here. One of the main takeaways that I found from this episode is this idea that Simon still views himself, even though many would look at him as an expert, he still views himself as a student, not a teacher now, he said I might be down the road a little bit in my journey right in my area of expertise, but I still view myself as a student. I'm still studying my content and for us we need to take on that mentality as leaders in our space is if we can be students were going to be far better off and it positions us to take, continue to learn And to continue to grow and evolve and that's always needed. So hey, thanks for listening to this episode of B2B growth. If you're not yet subscribed, please do so on whatever platform you prefer and that way you'll never miss the content that we're putting out. We have so much coming up in 2022 and we can't wait to share all of it with you. In the meantime, I'd love to connect with you. You can connect with me on linkedin. Just search Benji block and we'll talk again soon. Remember keep doing the work that matters. Is the decision maker for your product or service at BBB marketer, Are you looking to reach those buyers through the medium of podcasting? Consider becoming a co host of GDP growth. This show is consistently ranked as a top 100 podcast in the marketing category of Apple podcasts and the show gets more than 130,000 downloads each month. We've already done the work of building the audience so you can focus on delivering incredible content to our...

...listeners if you're interested, email Logan at sweet fish Media dot com.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1709)