Human beings are attracted to those who are prepared to lead, to be vulnerable, and sometimes alone. Those who truly lead inevitably have a set of beliefs that  are the foundation of why others are prepared to trust them, and be led by them. People relate to and engage with the beliefs of others.

It is not that the beliefs themselves in another are attractive, but that the beliefs resonate with their personal worldview, creating respect and admiration, so they are prepared to be led.

It therefore seems sensible when building a business to be specific about what you believe as a means to attract those who hold similar views, and sometimes do business with them.

Clearly, the other side of the coin is that you also repel those who do not share the beliefs, and while a challenging idea for most businesses, being strongly attractive to a core group because you are explicit about your beliefs, and therefore business model, is way better than being neutral to a wider group, which then leads to competition based on price, as it becomes the prime differentiator.

A mate of mine is a financial adviser, one who believes that his industry is fundamentally flawed. He believes that financial advice should be absolutely free of the self-interest of the adviser, and as a result does not take the sales and trailing commissions that are the way things are done in the financial services industry. This might make finding clients challenging, as referrals from those wanting commissions will not be forthcoming, but when clients , who value the absolute transparency of his advice find their way to him, they are extremely loyal, and prepared to pay well for his advice.

I recommend often that everyone should watch Simon Sinek’s TED talk, and consider the implications in their business. Working on your ‘Why’ is essential, but not an excuse for lots of fluffy talk that fails to come to grips with the competitive realities. It is a foundation, and like most foundations well hidden.  As Sinek noted, Martin Luther King did not have a 10 point plan to remove racial prejudice in the US, he had a set of beliefs about what was right and wrong, and what good people should do.

Image credit: Scott Adams and Dilbert.