Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek on Leadership at the World Government Summit

I’ve been a fan of Simon Sinek ever since watching his video on ‘finding your why,’ so I was delighted to learn that he has a Podcast; perfect for the 60 minutes I spend in the car on my commute each day.

Along with his ‘a bit of optimism’ Podcast, he also has a Podcast called ‘Mentoring You.’ The latter is a collection of the talks and interviews he’s done in other settings. One of those is his talk on Responsible Leadership for Infinite Success that he held for the 2019 World Government Summit.

A lot of it is on the concept of the infinite game, which you can find a better summary of on his ‘#79 Impact Theory’ episode (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify), but I really enjoyed a real-world example of a business looking after its employees that he gave during the World Government Summit (Apple, Google, Spotify, YouTube).

That was provided by a guy called Noah, with the example given at 10:30 in this video.

“Throughout the day, managers would walk past him and ask him how he’s doing. Ask him if there’s anything he needs to do his job better. Not just his manager, any manager.”

“We have to have trusting teams.”

“I was on a business trip in Las Vegas and they put me up at the Four Seasons. Beautiful hotel. And one of the reasons it’s a beautiful hotel is not simply because of the fancy bed – any hotel can buy a fancy bed – it’s because of the people who work there. That when they say hello to you, you get the distinct sense that they wanted to say hello, not that they were told to say hello.

“We’re highly in-tune social animals; we can tell the difference.

“They happened to have a coffee bar in the lobby, and so one afternoon I went to buy myself a cup of coffee and the barista working that day was a young man named Noah. Noah was funny, he was engaging, I enjoyed buying a cup of coffee from him. I stood there for far too long buying a cup of coffee because I enjoyed talking to Noah.

“So as is my nature, I asked Noah: do you like your job? And without skipping a beat, Noah says to me ‘I love my job.’ Now in my line of business, that’s significant.

“Like is rational. I like the people, I like the challenge, I get paid well, I like my job.

“Love is emotional. It demonstrates an emotional connection to whatever we’re doing. Do you love your wife? I like her a lot. It’s a different standard, right?

“Noah said I love my job, so immediately I’m interested. So I follow up. I said to Noah, ‘Tell my specifically what the Four Seasons is doing that you would say to me you love your job.

“And again, without skipping a beat, Noah said that throughout the day, managers will walk past him and ask him how he’s doing. Ask him if there’s anything that he needs to do his job better. Not just his manager, any manager.

“And then he said, I also work for a different hotel. And there, the managers walk past me and catch me if I’m doing something wrong. There, they’re always overbearing and trying to make sure that I make my numbers. He says there I just like to get through the day, keep my head below the radar, and just collect my paycheck. He said only at the Four Seasons do I feel I can by myself.

“This is the exact same human being, and yet the level of performance will be completely different, not because of him but because of the leadership environment in which he’s working.

“I get this question all the time: ‘Simon, how do we get the most out of our people?’ They’re not a towel that we wring to see how much we can get out of them. They question is flawed. The correct question is: What environment do I have to create? What do I have to do to help my people work at their natural best?

“That’s called leadership.”

“And when we create a trusting team, teams in which people feel trusted and trusting, what will happen is it makes them feel safe enough to raise their hand and say ‘I made a mistake’, or ‘I’m having trouble at home and it’s affecting my work,’ or ‘you’ve promoted me to a position to where I don’t know what I’m doing and I need training’.

“If we do not have trusting teams, what we have is a group of people who come to work every single day, lying, hiding and faking. They hide the mistakes for feat of getting in trouble. They won’t admit they don’t know what they’re doing for fear of being humiliated. They’re certainly not going to say that they’re scared or that they need help for fear that it will somehow reduce their value inside the organisation. And eventually things will compound and break.”

Make sure you check out the video above or the Podcasts on the link, and subscribe to Simon Sinek.

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