I watched a presentation by business author Simon Sinek today (thanks to Kathleen Helm for the link) and it really resonated with me for a number of reasons. In the presentation Simon describes his theory of ‘the golden circle’ which places the ‘why?’ we do things at the very heart of good leadership. Using examples of inspirational and innovative organisations and individuals including Apple and Martin Luther King, Simon demonstrates that the most successful companies and people focus on the reason for doing what they do rather than what or how they do what they do. In adopting this approach these organisations and individuals achieve great success because they communicate a vision which appeals to consumers and supporters.
It is amazing how many organisations seem to forget the vision. Without the vision how can you connect to people’s needs and further to this demonstrate that your product or service has any relevance to them.
For example, I’m currently working with a tec start up and was undertaking some analysis of similar products earlier this week. I spend a good couple of hours looking at website after website which structured their site in sections as follows: ‘about us’, ‘features’, ‘sign-up’. Sound familiar?
When I compare the golden circle theory to my analysis of these websites it’s pretty clear that the majority of businesses in this sector are pushing ‘what they do’, ‘how they do it’ and then expecting the sale (or more commonly a trial). But where is the need? Where is the ‘this is how you will make my life/better/easier/enriched’? Where is the ‘why’?
In his book The Facebook Effect David Kirkpatrick describes Mark Zuckerberg’s vision which drove the development of Facebook. The intro didn’t read.. “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if one day everyone could be using a software application which is based around networking and joining a forum.” Erm, no actually, I don’t really care – there were several other similar sites around when Facebook launched which actually did the same thing. What people buy is the vision that Facebook can bring people together, start revolutions and enable conversations between people in different countries with different time zones and different lives.
So think about the ‘why’. Is this this clear on your website? Why are you developing that product? If you can’t answer the question then maybe it’s time to stop.