Day #409:Simon Sinek:Leaders Eat Last

Simon Sinek is one of the most sort after leadership experts in the world.He has been studying leadership and what it takes to make the impossible a reality for years.  He has worked with top level CEOs, military leaders and everything in between to understand what separates organizations that thrive with those that only survive..You might know him from his wildly successful TED talk, Start with Why, which is one of the most watched of all time.

Simon’s book Start with Why which inspired the TED talk has widely successful. On the wave of this success, he has written book based on his observation from working with top organisations and leaders around the world.He observed that organizations that have people who work very effectively as teams have drastically different cultures than do organizations where people tend not to cooperate very much. The organizations with strong cultures have leaders who focus on putting the needs of their people above their own. As Simon writes in the title of his new book: leaders eat last.

Leaders Eat Last is a fascinating book that includes inspiring case studies, intriguing research, and the biological and anthropological explanations for why the most successful organizations over the long-term are those that create a strong Circle of Safety.

Simon points out how the principle cause of failure among organizations is the tendency to focus more on numbers and short-term results than we do on people. When numbers are prioritized over people, the result is an organization where people simply don’t feel safe inside the organization. If people don’t feel safe inside the organization, they can’t possibly work together to face all of the never-ending challenges that come from outside of the organization.

The Amazon.com description gives a comprehensive information on the book.

Why do only a few people get to say “I love my job”? It seems unfair that finding fulfillment at work is like winning a lottery; that only a few lucky ones get to feel valued by their organizations, to feel like they belong.

Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled.

This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.

In his travels around the world since the publication of his bestseller Start with Why, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams were able to trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general.

“Officers eat last,” he said.

Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What’s symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: great leaders sacrifice their own comfort—even their own survival—for the good of those in their care.

This principle has been true since the earliest tribes of hunters and gatherers. It’s not a management theory; it’s biology. Our brains and bodies evolved to help us find food, shelter, mates and especially safety. We’ve always lived in a dangerous world, facing predators and enemies at every turn. We thrived only when we felt safe among our group.

Our biology hasn’t changed in fifty thousand years, but our environment certainly has. Today’s workplaces tend to be full of cynicism, paranoia and self-interest. But the best organizations foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a Circle of Safety that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.

The Circle of Safety leads to stable, adaptive, confident teams, where everyone feels they belong and all energies are devoted to facing the common enemy and seizing big opportunities.

As he did in Start with Why, Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories from a wide range of examples, from the military to manufacturing, from government to investment banking.

The biology is clear: when it matters most, leaders who are willing to eat last are rewarded with deeply loyal colleagues who will stop at nothing to advance their leader’s vision and their organization’s interests. It’s amazing how well it works.

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