Reading Time: < 1 minute

My book review this week is on Simon Sinek’s 2017 bookLeaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. Some takeaways include:

  • Sinek talks about the “Circle of Safety” – and retells an Aesop fable.  “A lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four. —Aesop, sixth century B.C.”  (p. 24)
  • Sinek focuses extensively on our natural biological state – and how stress, chaos, lack of trust, and ruthless behaviors impact teams. Dopamine and endorphins are the chemicals that drive us to achieve – whether that means finding food, building things, or accomplishing goals.  Oxytocin and serotonin are the chemicals that help with sociability. Serotonin is responsible for that sense of pride that we take in the people who work for us, while oxytocin inspires loyalty, trust, and kindness. Leaders need to develop cultures which work with the natural biological state.
  • Teams are better able to manage themselves and the challenges of the project when they don’t have to cope with dangers inside of the organization. Leaders need to protect the Circle of Safety.
  • A short-term, numbers driven culture harms the people in our organizations, and our society at large.