"In network marketing, one of the biggest challenges leaders face is trying to increase the number of distributors who actively work the business while decreasing the number of those who become inactive. Which prompts the question, "Why do they sign up, and why do they leave?"

In his book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek offers his simple and unique take on what makes organizations flourish and succeed. His premise? "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it."

He sums up his findings through the Golden Circle of Why—How—What.

Why represents our belief system: it's what makes us do what we do. How is the actions we take, our guiding principles, our system. What is the results of our actions, results that, if achieved properly, will effectively communicate our why to people. Unfortunately, instead of leading from the inside out (Why > How > What), many make the mistake of leading from the outside in by starting with what. In network marketing this corresponds to presenting features and benefits, facts and figures, which is usually when we come up short of our expected results.

Sinek uses Apple as a successful example of the Golden Circle at work. The world's most innovative company communicates this way:

"In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo (Why). The way we do this is by making products that are beautifully designed and simple to use (How). We just happen to make great computers (What). Wanna buy one?"

Considering the biggest challenge leaders face in our business, Sinek's approach offers an elegant solution: "The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have, but to do business with those who believe what you believe."

It's not what we do; we all know the answer to that. It's not how we do it, even though some people get stumped explaining that effectively. The fundamental question is why we do, something few of us can clearly articulate.

And therein lies the rub. If we don't know why we do, how do we inspire trust and loyalty? How do we attract people to our teams, and keep them in?

Although not specifically written for our profession, Start with Why is a must-read for those who seek to grow and sustain their network marketing organizations. At the very least, readers will become clear about their why. And this is important because, as Sinek puts it, "Those who start with why have the ability to inspire those around them or to find others who inspire them."

Hardcover, 259 pages, $26,95;
Portfolio, 2009.