(This is part of the series of posts talking about Ecosystem Design)

Many companies don´t really know why their customers are their customers or why their employees are their employees.

Reading the sentence from the book of Simon Sinek Start with the why, we realized that it describes quite well the situation of different companies we are collaborating with. Going further, we can also ask if we as a customer, employee or entrepreneur if we actually know what is our WHY, the inner passions which inspires and moves us to the action and some cases deliver our gift to the world.

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The author brings us an alternative perspective to understand how inspire people rather than manipulate or manage them in order to motivate, attract or produce transformation in people, within organizations or even with their customers. This new perspective has been really useful for us to focus and modelize at the first phase of the process to implement a sustainable individual transformation and create intrapreneurial teams of workers (and clients).

The book combine different theories like the Golden Circle, The law of diffusion of innovation, The Split process, and other theories that we have used and applied to build up our model of intrapreneurship.

Golden Circle Principles:


Probably is a simple idea to codify all we do in 3 layers: Why? How? What? But the reflection behind this is huge and useful. This idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t.

Very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

Simon Sinek consider that the balance of the Clarity of Why, the discipline of How, and the consistency of What gives us Authenticity. When we say and do things that we believe.

Inspired leaders and the inspired organizations act and communicate from the inside out. In other words, when we communicate from the outside in, people can understand vast amounts of complicated information like features and benefits. It just doesn’t drive behavior. When we can communicate from the inside out, we’re talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior, and then we allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things we say and do. This is where gut decisions come from. Why are you buying in this shop and not in the other? I don´t know, but I have not doubts that I am in the right one.
They’re comfortable making intuitive decisions that are driven by what they believe and not just what product is available.

It is really interesting. We can sort out many lessons if we apply this theory in the customers decision-making process and in the definition on what is our relationship with them. In the other hand, we need to build up a value proposal based in a new connection between workers and customers. As we learned from Nan Huai-Chin, besides the knowledge there is another resource that increase if we share it: emotions or feelings. If the workers are happy, clients will be happy.

We all are passionate, but we are not all passionate for the same things. One of the key we have identified is that individuals can find out projects and actions that motivate and inspire them, specially the ones they start running from the scratch and they feel owner or creator. They start working from the why.

We must care for our customers but also for us, our team and the things we do. If we don´t love our work, we don´t look out each other and we feel unfulfilled. And the worst thing, is that we transmit this emotion to the rest.

The definition of Trust

When we surround ourselves with people who believe in what we believe, you create something remarkable that is TRUST.

Building trust means sharing more than just goals, means sharing beliefs and the reasons for things. It is the individual connection with the team.

When we surround ourselves with people that believe in the same we do (people who take care of each other) what happens:

  • We have more confidence to take risks
  • We have more confidence to experiment (requiring fail by the way)
  • We have more confidence to explore, meet other people.

Our survival depends on our ability to surround ourselves with people who believe in what we believe.


Split happens


We have been working with a retail company where we have identify some of these characteristic. Starting from the lost of trust and the clear split of the what and the why. Founders are able to connect the what with the why. Inspire the what of each one. But when the company became bigger and bigger this connection disappear.

The reality of the most of the teams in each store, and also in the headquarters is that the “mood”, for different reasons, is not as active as it was in the past, where the feelings and the proactivity were more similar to entrepreneurs.

At the beginning, ideas are fueled by passion, and that causes us to do quite irrational (and sometimes extraordinary) things. But when the Split happens, the Why starts to go fuzzy, the passion is gone and inspiration is at minimum.

Being cheap does not inspire employees to give their blood, sweat and tears. There has to be something else, a deeper purpose. Look after others (believe in people) could be one of the most powerful cause or belief.

If you look after people, people look after you. The more you could give to employees, customers and the community; the more that employees, customers and the community would give back to the company. The inspiration came not simply from Customer Service but from service itself. Service like this higher purpose.

In many situations we lose the track and this WHY goes fuzzy, and can become all about cheap. We can even maintain the same What and How, but if the Why goes fuzzy and our company transforms into an impersonal Goliath our capacity to transmit something different disappear.

From the beginning we saw intrapreneurship as the enabler to figure out how we could support grassroots innovation in each store and in each team based in a radical new relationship with customers. From my point of view, this is the next breakthrough innovation. Entrepreneurial teams of employees/members designing with customers new solutions and experiences.

We fancy a good revolution where there is not difference between a customer and a worker. The employees believe in our Why and because of this choose to work in the company, and the customer believes in our Why and choose to buy in our stores. One of our goals is to find customer who believe what we believe and work together so that we can all succeed.

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