You Are The HOW to my WHY


Ralph Albernathy, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniak, Roy Disney. Who were these men and why are they important? Turns out if it weren’t for the aforementioned names, people like Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Walt Disney would not have been able to make their visions the WHAT that people bought into. They are what Simon Sinek calls HOW-Types, the brains in the operations that can rationalize and bring the WHYs to life.

Albernathy had the plan so that King could focus on the dream. Gates had a mission to put a PC on every desk, but it was Allen who built the company. Wozniak built the computer that Jobs used to challenge the status quo. And Walt admits that without Roy, “I’d have been in jail several times for checks bouncing.”

The HOW-type people construct the WHAT, the platform or medium, that the WHY-type people can use to channel their vision to their audience.

Interestingly enough, according to Sinek, the HOW people don’t necessarily need a WHY person to be successful, it is in their nature to get things done.

Illustration of the link between why, how and what.

However, their success would need constant maintenance for the rest of their lives, because their focus is on HOW and the WHAT, not on a vision or a WHY. And when that is the case, Sinek says, organizations will often try to push their WHAT forward with short term manipulations that prove to be expensive in the long haul.

On the flip side, WHY people, in order to reach success, need a HOW person that believes in their vision to push it forward. “Without someone inspired by their vision and the knowledge to make it a reality,” Sinek says, “most WHY-types end up as starving visionaries.”

If you are a small business owner, it can be easy to start with a strong WHY, but at some point shift the focus entirely to the HOW and the WHAT. After all you are wearing several hats just to keep your business running, from the CEO to the janitor.  However, as mentioned in the previous piece Do it for the Culture , if you billboard your mission heavily, it will attract the HOW- types who believe in your cause. You can designate these roles to those who are more savvy in that realm who will take on these tasks with the same belief in mind.

You Are The HOW to my WHY

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