Why do you do what you do?

That question is central to understanding leadership.  When my team is conducting an executive search we all know what the candidates do but very few recruiters ask why they do it, and that is a shame. 

Simon Sinek, a British-American author and marketing consultant, discussed this idea at a TEDx Puget Sound event several years ago. I remember watching it when it first came out but recently stumbled over it again during an idea surfing session. The first time, I remember, I thought it was an interesting concept.  This time, it was idea whose time had come for me.  Right between the eyes.

You see, I have been looking for some idea or concept that would help me understand why so few executive job applicants excel in their interviews.  It is frustrating, most recruiters will agree.  People come to the table, they present well, they have worked in some impressive organizations, and they speak reasonably well.  But more often than not, something is missing.  Many are superbly “corporate” but fall short in leaving me convinced that they are the one. There is no emotional explanation as to why I would want to follow them.

What Mr. Sinek posits in his Golden Circle theory is that people do not make a buying decision based on what a person does or even how they do it.  They buy a product, an idea, or into an individual because they identify with the WHY they do what they do.

Why do you do what you do? Think about it.  It could make the difference in your next interview.


Career Transitions is the outplacement practice of JohnGSelf + Partners.  Mr. Self is a recognized thought leader on career management and interviewing skills.  He recently taught the course for the American College of Healthcare Executives annual Congress in Chicago.  Clients say his effectiveness stems from his passion for helping people excel in their careers and his commitment to help executives more effectively communicate their value to prospective employers.

For more information on how Career Transitions can help you navigate your next career change, email John at CareerTransitions@JohnGSelf.Com