People don’t buy what you do but why you do it

Stories of HKTV employees rooting for their boss Ricky Wong despite the layoff resulted from the cruel banishment from the Hong Kong government are touching hearts across this small city. This sort of reaction from employees are not only rarely seen in Hong Kong but everywhere as well. Why could anyone getting axed by an ailing company blame external factors other than the CEO/owner? Why would anyone say so many good things about the person ordering his own firing? These employees have every right to say Mr. Wong sold them on his so called “dreams” and “unrealized promises”. They have every right to be mad and angry at home for luring them to leave their original comfort zone and now lead them on to a path which is now known as career suicide.

Some still say they have no regrets for fighting this lost battle. What has HKTV done with these people? HKers are famous for being materialist and profit driven. Did he put some sort of a voodoo spell on them? That’s what cynics would say, but I’d say it has everything to do with leadership.

I had long been aware of the fact that Mr Wong is an EMBA graduate of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, but I’m sure his leadership and his ability to connect with employees has little to do with his EMBA education.

This TED talk of Simon Sinek literally transformed my life. I remember emailing him after I watched it in my marketing class a few years back and thank him for inspiring me. In essence, he argues that leadership lies in the ability to convey to your followers “why” you do what you do. At that time, I thought Steve Jobs was the only true example. Now I think Mr. Wong has demonstrated the same ability. Even thought I don’t know him in person at all, I’m completely convinced that he’s very passionate about trying to make good TV for Hong Kong.

Mr. Sinek emphasizes great leaders must believe in the reasons behind their missions. They must think that they are doing something noble, something worthy.

People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

Give this clip five minutes. You won’t regret it. If you do, well. This blog isn’t for you anyway.


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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