How Great Leaders Inspire Action-A TED Talk by Simon Sinek

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View a graphic synthesis of Simon Sinek’s talk.

Have you ever wondered why we find some leaders and their messages inspiring while others leave us flat?

As a leader do you want to ensure your team members not only understand your vision, but also actively work to make it a reality?

In this TED talk, Simon Sinek explores his concept of the Golden Circle, what he calls “a naturally occurring pattern”, grounded in the biology of human decision making, that explains why we are inspired by some people, leaders, messages and organizations over others.

The Golden Circle is similar to a target with three rings.  Starting with the outer ring and leading to the center ring, the sections are labeled as the “What”, “How”, and “Why”.  The most common and comfortable place for leaders to  speak to is the “What”, as in what the organization does.  Many leaders are also comfortable speaking to “How” they do what they do.  Most, however, do not speak to the “Why”.  Sinek suggests that “Why” is the most transformational and powerful place to speak to as it the place of purpose and passion.

Sinek further explains that the Golden Circle corresponds to the biology of the human brain.  The outer layer of the brain, the “What”, is represented in the homo sapien brain – the place of rational thought, analytical data, and language.  The inner circle of the brain, the “Why” and “How”, relates to the limbic portion of the brain where feelings such as trust and loyalty are generated.  It is also the place of decision making, and especially those that come from the gut.

Sinek suggests that when we communicate from the “What”, we are not appealing to the part of the brain where decisions are actually made.  However if we connect effectively via the “Why” (and “How”) of the limbic brain – the place of passion and purpose – others will make a gut decision to follow in the leader’s footsteps.  Continuing to speak to passion and purpose builds trust and develops loyalty and the “What” we do naturally follows to rationalize the behavior.


Hiring an Independent Contractor? Understand the Process Before You Get Started

What is an Independent Contractor?

People who are in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public are typically categorized as independent contractors.

How Do I Know:  Employee or Independent Contractor?

Independent Contractor:  The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. The earnings of a person who is working as an independent contractor are subject to Self-Employment Tax as independent contractors are self-employed.  Independent contractors should not have an office or desk at SMU.

Employee:  If the individual will perform services that are controlled by the hiring department  (what will be done and how it will be done), the person is NOT an independent contractor.  The determining factor is whether the employer controls the details of how the services are performed.

Additional Information on the IRS website:  For more information refer to the IRS website section on Independent Contractors or Employees.

Independent Contractor Determination Process at SMU

icd3The University must correctly determine whether the individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors.  Managers should follow this process in order to minimize the risk to the University including, but not limited to, the cost of back taxes and social security payments.  The process is facilitated via the Independent Contractor Determination Form which should be submitted as soon as the dates and services are agreed upon.  Approval should be received before services are performed. Please note the form is recently updated form and should be used for all future requests.

Visit the Independent Contractor Determination webpage to learn more about the process, requirements, and approval timelines.