Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Analysis of Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”


Quality leadership is one of the fundamental aspects of an organization that determines its success and ultimately realizing the predetermined goals. Furthermore, leaders play an essential role in inspiring action in any given firm. Thus, Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED talk provided a comprehensive understanding of the practical approaches which empower and inspire other people to embrace their potential in work (Wert p. 2). Besides, Simon Sinek presented values, actions, and beliefs that proved their efficiency in ensuring the success of an organization and a group of people determined to achieve specific goals. In addition, there are practical examples of a group of people and organizations whose operations demonstrated the need for great leaders who operate beyond their limits to realize success. Therefore, this paper provides a comprehensive analysis of Sinek’s 2009 TED Talk about how great leaders inspire action using Neo Aristotelian criticism.

Description of Simon Sinek’s Speech

Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED Talk remains one of the most famous speeches, which opened his audiences’ minds to leadership skills and prepared future leaders to actualize their roles effectively. His practical examples in his presentation helped his audience relate their existing modes of operation in their various fields of work. For instance, Simon Sinek used models of Apple Company, M Luther King, and the Wright brothers. Simon Sinek began his speech by asking the critical audience questions to tease their minds (Stall, 2015). He aimed to engage the audience in the talk and capture their attention through the preview of what he intended to present.

Consequently, he had discovered in the previous three years, which profoundly changed his view of how the World worked. Likewise, the discovery enhanced his operation in the World. Thus, he called his finding “the golden circle,” which consisted of three critical questions. The smaller central circle represented the why; the middle circle showed the how and the giant circle represented the what. The why at the center represented the purpose, how in the middle showed the procedure, and what represented the product or services in the outer circle as a result of quality leadership (Stall, 2015). He chronicled that his idea provided a comprehensive explanation of why some leaders and organizations were in a position to inspire significantly challenging their competitors

These solid examples formed the basis of Sinek’s illustration of stressing his message to his listeners. Thus, he described Apple Company as an exemplary organization despite having similar operations like other competitive companies. The other companies shared standard features such as having similar components, access, talent, media, and agencies. However, Apple Company stood out due to its interest in the purpose of its development (Wert 2). Inspiring leaders are known for their compelling and interrogative way of speech. Courage is what describes great leaders as they communicate with confidence. These features are all demonstrated in Simon Sinek’s TED talk.

In addition, Martin Luther King is described as a successful leader through his act of leading the Civil Right Movement in the United States. However, it was recorded that other men similarly suffered in pursuit of their rights. Furthermore, the Wright Brothers were determined to determine the controlled powered man flight I completion with other highly skilled and well-funded individuals. Hence, these three instances challenged Simon Sinek, prompting him to opt for a new way of operating. Consequently, his research about these individuals and companies revealed that success did not only depend on the leaders’ commitment but also on sticking to the beliefs and purpose of their establishment (Stall, 2915). Nevertheless, Simon Sinek discovered the need to create interest in a given task and work towards achieving it rather than concentrating on the qualification of managing such functions.

Moreover, Simon Sinek affirmed that great and inspiring leaders and organizations in the World are known for acting, thinking, and communicating. He stressed this concept by drawing concentric circles he called the “Golden circle” He used this circle to explain why some leaders and organizations succeeded in inspiring where others failed. Therefore, Simon Sinek wrote the word “why” in the center, “how” in the middle, and “what” in the outer circle. The concentric circles were related to how successful Martin Luther King, the Wright brothers, and Apple Company became amid other similar competing entities. Nonetheless, many organizations and leaders concentrated on what and how they produced their products and services to their subjects and customers (Stall, 2015). Contrary, the companies, and the leaders ignored why they exercised their duties. Besides, Sinek Compared Apple company to other electronic companies such as Dell, which were engaged in manufacturing similar products. He mentioned a few characteristics of apple as one that challenged the status quo by producing beautifully designed products that were simple and user-friendly. Hence, the difference in thinking of the top executives of Apple Company was subject to their success in the competitive market.

There are different categories of leaders as described in the law of diffusion of innovation. Simon, Sinek grouped these categories in percentages with their relevance and competitiveness in service delivery. For instance, some innovators occupy the lowest percentage of 2.5%. Subsequently, there are early adopters, early and late majority, and laggards. The description of these groups of people surprised the audience when Sinek claimed the acceptance of an idea requires the attainment of the innovative stage, especially for the business persons. Being the first person to experience an innovation gives prior knowledge of its functionality. Thus, the initial experience dictates the idea’s ultimate existence, hence its success.

Simon Sinek was very tactical during his TED Talk. Due to his varied and relevant example, he incorporated his thought. He quickly challenged the audience that none of his sentiments was his opinion; instead, it was based on factual beliefs of biology. Therefore, he used an example of the brain and how it coordinated its functions of the body. The three major components of the brain were directly linked to the concentric circles drawn on the white sheets. In addition, he claimed that the neocortex was responsible for the human being’s analytical and rational language and thoughts.

On the other hand, the two middle sections of the brain make up the limbic brain. Hence, understanding the limbic brain to be responsible for all the human feelings such as loyalty and trust. Besides, the limbic brain dictated human behavior and the ability to make reinforced choices but had no capacity for modifying one’s language. Therefore, these illustrations challenged the audience constantly to value their purpose of engaging in their given tasks and not only how and what they do.

Simon Sinek cracks jokes to bring back his audience in the talk. He challenges his audience on what seems obvious but too substantial in their daily endeavors. Besides, he focuses on his speech even when handed with a wired microphone. He did not pause to excuse or test the new microphone (Scalzo, 2019). Hence, his body language communicates how a great leader is obligated to act primarily when delegating duties to their subjects. In addition, Simon is knowledgeable as he can quite statistics of past events and relates them to the prevailing conditions. For example, he remembers that in 1963, two hundred and fifty thousand people gathered in Washington to listen to orator Dr. Luther King. This act shows that a leader must be in a position to remember the victorious deeds during his reign to inspire others to work harder.

Furthermore, he quotes figures such as the percentage categorization of the population while he was explaining the law of diffusion of innovation. Therefore, he believed in a bright future and the existing possibilities of attaining success through visionary thinking (Hackett p. 880). He inspired people to do the thing that inspire them too through setting achievable goals. Likewise, he encourages trust among people who work together, for it encourages teamwork. For instance, his speech reveals that many people like to associate with brands that have the selfless element. Thus, being a leader requires sacrifice, decision-making, and willingness to help others realize their set objectives in their daily lives.

Sinek left his audiences in suspense to create a moment of reflection of what he had presented to them. His statement that there are leaders and at the same time there are those who lead did not ring right in the minds of the audience. He intentionally engaged their thoughts about the kind of leaders that surrounded them. Thus, he meant that not all those leaders who hold positions of power necessarily inspire action. Many people follow those in power for the sake of honouring their positions in the contemporary society. Therefore, the leaders who strictly stick on the reasons as to why they hold the positions are said to inspire action in their organization for their ultimate success.

Analysis of Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” Using the Aristotelian Criticism

Aristotle provides a comprehensive analysis of leaders who inspire action in their organizations. Furthermore, this great philosopher explains leadership qualities anchored on the basis of morals and ethics in their operation. Likewise, he affirms that logic, science and politics play a critical role in developing leadership skills. Thus, Aristotle’s studies and findings have been applied in ages as they conation messages that are powerful and relevant to modern day leadership. Virtue ethics remains the moral theories that explore the potentiality of a leader to be productive and encourage his or her subjects to emulate the skills (Scalzo, 2019). Moreover, neo-Aristotelian criticism evaluates instances of a leader providing direction to subjects for action. Therefore, Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on great leaders who inspire action can well be evaluated using the Aristotelian virtue ethics.

A visionary leader is likely to inspire necessary action to be taken in an organization. This act of visionary leadership is clearly illustrated by Simon Sinek in his TED Talk. The practical example Martin Luther King illustrates a visionary leader. His firm stand in fighting for civil rights is seen in his success despite facing a myriad of challenges. He managed to collect two hundred and fifty thousand people in the year 1963 and gave a speech of what he intended to achieve. This act enabled him to lead the civil rights movement in America thus, realising his predetermined goals. In addition, The Wright Brothers managed to figure out controlled powered man flight (Hirji p. 679). Simon Sinek says that people were not highly skilled but they were determined to make the flight. Thus they shocked their competitors who were well funded and skilled.

Transformational leadership is demonstrated by individuals who embrace change in their operation. A good example of transformational leadership which inspired change was that of Apple Company. The electronic company focussed on the purpose of their establishment. The company was so innovative in making beautifully designed products that were simple and user friendly (Scalzo, 2019). Neo-Aristotelian criticism would term the other companies as non-transformational as they did not conduct market search appropriately. Furthermore, Simon Sinek stressed the transformational leadership of Apple Company using the concentric circles. He focussed on the virtue of working with people with people who have the same beliefs. Besides, he discouraged working with people who needed what the company has rather what the company purpose to deliver to the market.

Good morals are subject to inspired leaders in the contemporary society. Leaders, who inspire action act, think and communicate exactly the same way. Simon Sinek termed this kind of coordination as the World’s simplest idea of inspiring action in an organization. Besides, Aristotle claimed that an effective leader intimately understands the needs of the group he or she governs. Furthermore, this philosopher affirmed that following the concerns, progress and plight of a great leader prompts for actions. Moreover, repeatedly doing a successful program creates a habit which culminates into becoming an exemplary service provider in the competitive World (Stall p. 2915). This creates the feeling of union and pride among people. A greater leader that inspires action can actually make up for everyone else despite the challenges and limitations along the way. This essence is created when Sinek talked of a Martin Luther King who was managed to gather a crowd of two hundred and fifty thousand people in one place to present his thought on the rights. Hence, a great leader could unite his people to collectively take part in fighting for a common cause as demonstrated by Dr. Martin King.

Simon Sinek had written several books about great leaders, companies and politicians who had the capacity to inspire the World. These facts demonstrated that Simon Sinek was a very knowledgeable and experienced person (Hirji p. 685). In addition, he had given presentations on leadership to organizations and companies including the United States Military, Microsoft, and other governmental agencies. Thus, Sinek’s credibility based on his prior knowledge made him a suitable speaker on what it took one to become a great and successful leader. For instance, he received an invitation to give a TED Talk not so long after publishing his first book with the title “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”. This act showed that he was a great influential and experienced person in the field of leadership.

Throughout his speech, Sinek uses his concentric circle which he termed “the golden circle” as the most appropriate visual aid during his presentation. The “golden circle” simplified his leadership message where he kept on repeating that people buy why you do and not what you do or how you do. Visual examples provided emphasis and clarified Sinek’s main points thereby increasing the audiences’ interest in the speech. Besides, the illustrations were kept simple and were straight to the point through his body language and composure. Nonetheless, the sketches he made during his presentation simplified the usefulness of the concentric circles. (Wert p. 2) Therefore, the audience found it easy time understanding the drawings and the text he put on the white sheets).

Sinek’s audience comprises of the collective modern day leaders as well as the general population geared towards making an impact in the World. His speech has been transcribed and translated to several languages to reach a vast population. Sinek’s act of keeping his speech very simple and although he addressed an important complex topic made everything easy to understand his message (Hirji p. 679) He avoided a lot of jargon for enhance understanding to the average people. The speech mainly revolved around educating the general public on quality leadership. Thus, Simon Sinek had a strong belief where he found reasons why people are successful at what they do and why others do. Besides, Simon shares most of his discoveries with the general World. The speech is still prominent and it is watched and read widely by people in the World. This fact makes it remain memorable and practical impact the contemporary leaders (Hackett p. 883). Consequently, many people came to acknowledge the essence of the “Golden circle”. The universe appreciates this man for his discovery of an appropriate way of putting together a substantial presentation about a complex and essential leadership topic in a simplified form.

Works Cited

Hackett, Rick., & Wang, Gordon.Virtues and leadership: An integrating conceptual framework founded in Aristotelian and Confucian perspectives on virtues. Management Decision, vol. 50, no. 5, 2012, pp. 868-899.

Hirji, Sukaina. What’s Aristotelian about neo-Aristotelian Virtue Ethics? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 98, no. 3, 2018, pp. 671-696.

Scalzo, German. & Friends, Guillermo. Aristotelian phronesis as a key factor for leadership in the knowledge-creating company according to Ikujiro Nonaka. Cuadernos de Administración, vol. 31, no. 57, 2019.

Stall, Mary. How great leaders inspire action-a ted talk by Simon Sinek. Human resources. 2015.

Wert, Jennifer. Sowcik, Mathew., & Green, Jera,. N. Leadership Skills Series #2: General Leadership & Purpose/Values1. IFAS Extension, pp. 1-3.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics