Before you watch

Simon Sinek explores how leaders can inspire cooperation, trust and change. He’s the author of the classic «Start With Why»; his latest book is «Leaders Eat Last.»

Vocabulary Notes

medevac — the movement of injured soldiers or other people to hospital in a helicopter or other aircraft

furlough  — a period of time during which workers are told not to come to work, usually because there is not enough money to pay them

marine — a soldier who is trained to serve on land or at sea

theatre — the place in which a war or fighting takes place

visceral — characterized by or proceeding from instinct rather than intellect

While you watch

While watching, pay attention to the following words and expressions in context. Use them in your answers to the questions below and discussion.

sheer coincidence

initial conclusion

reduce lifespan

inherent benefits


tangible results

seize the opportunity

build self-confidence

implement a policy


After you watch

Answer the questions:

  1. What is an essential ingredient for successful leadership and employees’ efficient performance?
  2. Simon’s presentation is based on various analogies with strong or weak leadership. Expand on each situation and say what ideas they illustrate:
Captain Swenson rescuing soldiers in Afghanistan          
A pre-historic man and his life in a tribe          
A person boarding a plane          
Next Jump and their employment policy          
Bob Chapman and his company hit by the recession      

3. How does Simon define leadership?

Discuss in pairs:

Expand on the following statements made by Simon Sinek. Do you share his opinion? Why?

  • Great leaders would never sacrifice the people to save the numbers. They would sooner sacrifice the numbers to save the people.
  • Bob doesn’t believe in head counts. Bob believes in heart counts, and it’s much more difficult to simply reduce the heart count. 
  • Leadership is a choice. It is not a rank. I know many people at the senior most levels of organizations who are absolutely not leaders. They are authorities, and we do what they say because they have authority over us, but we would not follow them. And I know many people who are at the bottoms of organizations who have no authority and they are absolutely leaders…