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Simon Sinek on leadership, & finding your calling

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Simon Sinek: Feeling fulfilled by our work is a right

Larry King NowMar 29 '17

Though people who love their jobs are few and far between, expert Simon Sinek says it shouldn’t be that way. The leadership expert makes the case that every one of us should feel fulfilled by our work, and says it starts with “finding our why.”

Simon Sinek: Somebody introduced me to Adrian Zackheim, who’s the god of business publishing, the original publisher of Good to Great, I had a 29-minute meeting with Adrian, and three days later he offered me a book deal. And so I wrote, because I had a contract that told me I had to write. So that’s how I wrote a book.

Larry King: He gave you 30 minutes and you used 29?

Simon Sinek: Yeah, he gave me 30 minutes and I used 29. (Laughs)

Larry King: So the idea is to be fulfilled by your work?

Simon Sinek: I think fulfillment is a right and not a privilege. It’s so common that we go out for dinner with our friends, and someone at the dinner table will say, “I love my job,” and the rest of us go, “Oh you’re so lucky.” Like they won some sort of lottery. I think feeling fulfilled and loving our work is a right and not a privilege, that we should demand of our leaders, that they provide an environment we enjoy coming to work to every day. And if we are the leaders, then we should be providing those environments.

Larry King: Can this apply to an assembly line worker at General Motors?

Simon Sinek: 100 percent.

Larry King: Puts a car together all day.

Simon Sinek: It has nothing to do-

Larry King: In fact, all he does is the wrenching on the tires.

Simon Sinek: I can give you lists of companies, Barry-Wehmiller based in St. Louis is a multi-billion-dollar manufacturing company, I’ve walked the factory floor, and I meet people who glow with love for their job and their fellow colleagues. There’s a company called Luck Companies, based in Dulles, and they own quarries. These guys smash rocks, that’s what they do, they put a stick of dynamite in a hole, it blows big boulders, and they smash them into little rocks. That’s their job. And I sat down with them, and I said, “Tell me, what makes working at Luck so wonderful?” And one of them, every stereotype you have in your head, it’s exactly what he looked like, this big guy with a baseball cap and dip, and he looks at me and goes, “Well I really learned to connect with my feelings and express to both my colleagues and my family how I feel.” And it’s just amazing, they love their work. And I know plenty of people in white-collar jobs, bankers and doctors who hate their jobs and take pills to get through the day, so let us not judge whether somebody’s happy or unfulfilled based on what they do-

Larry King: Are you saying it all begins at the top?

Simon Sinek: It doesn’t have to, it’s more efficient when it does, and leaders are responsible for setting the conditions inside the company. But when there’s substandard leadership, which unfortunately is more common than I’d like it to be, then there can be good pockets of leadership within the organization. So you have pockets of people who are fulfilled.

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