Are You a Why-type or a How-type?


In “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek, the author shares why-types are the visionaries and how-types live in the here and now. The how-types are the ones who get things done, who accomplish the why-types’ dreams.

Sinek shared multiple why/how-type partnerships which have led to revolutionary things throughout the years. Whether it was the Wright brothers or Walt and Roy Disney, there was one how-type and one why-type in each partnership.

For example, a biographer wrote of the Disney brothers: “Walt Disney dreamed, drew and imagined; Roy stayed in the shadow, forming an empire.”

And Sinek shares: “Without someone inspired by their vision and the knowledge to make it a reality, most why-types end up as starving visionaries, people with all the answers but never accomplishing much themselves.”

What are you, Affiliate? Are you a why or a how-type? While you might get loads done as a how-type, it’s time to ask if you are getting your why across to your team. Or, if you are a why-type, who are your how-types that see your visions come to life?

Sinek gave another great point in differentiating the difference between the two, and the importance of both, by comparing a vision statement to a mission statement. “The vision is the public statement of the founder’s intent, why the company exists. It is literally the vision of a future that does not yet exist. The mission statement is a description of the route, the guiding principles — how the company intends to create that future. When both of those things are stated clearly, the why-type and the how-type are both certain about their roles in the partnership.”

Do you have to have a why-type? Not necessarily. It definitely helps to have a visionary, but more than likely most of your team will be how-types. Sinek said that’s what most people are — those who get things done. However, it’s easy to get caught in the cycle of simply getting things done versus leading.

Sinek writes what makes a great organization function is like any social movement: “They inspire people to talk about a product or idea, or even find ways to advance the prosperity of the organization itself.”

And just because you are one type doesn’t mean you can’t be another. “Why-types — people who wake up every day to lead a cause and not just run a company” have a different mindset that I believe is attainable.

So if it’s time for you to step into a why-type role, start with a mindset change. Embody your vision statement. Begin to inspire. And watch as the how-types step up to bring your dreams to life.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at