News | March 11, 2021

National Reading Month: Start with Why

By Paul Riggs DLA Disposition Services PaCE Program

Editor's Note: March is National Reading Month. Everyday reading increases knowledge and develops personal and professional skills. Throughout the month, the DLA Disposition Services Pathways to Career Excellence program participants are sharing insights from books* they recently finished.*No official Department of Defense endorsement implied.


Start with Why book cover
March is National Reading Month. Everyday reading increases knowledge and develops personal and professional skills. Throughout the month, the DLA Disposition Services Pathways to Career Excellence program participants are sharing insights from books they recently finished. “Start with Why,” by Simon Sinek, was rated the “bestselling leadership book” in 2018 and can still be effective in motivating today.
Start with Why book cover
Start with Why
March is National Reading Month. Everyday reading increases knowledge and develops personal and professional skills. Throughout the month, the DLA Disposition Services Pathways to Career Excellence program participants are sharing insights from books they recently finished. “Start with Why,” by Simon Sinek, was rated the “bestselling leadership book” in 2018 and can still be effective in motivating today.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 210216-D-D0441-701
“Start with Why,” by Simon Sinek, was rated the “bestselling leadership book” in 2018 and can still be effective in motivating today.

The book’s main point is that by understanding your organization’s purpose, or why they do what they do, it will help to keep everyone excited and focused on common goals. The book’s real-world examples provide unique perspectives and keeps the focus on clarifying the things that will define your agencies “how’s and what’s” properly.

Life experiences help define perceptions. Mr. Sinek didn’t just state something missed by many, but instead, provides guidance to where most miss the mark.

Children question why, much to their parent’s chagrin. Children have no experience and hunger to understand.

Like children, new employees are eager to learn. However, they usually learn classically thru “trial by fire.” This contributes to why people rarely comprehend the mission of the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services.

My favorite example from the book was the American executive who viewed the Japanese automotive assembly line. After touring the facility, he saw that there was no mallet person to “adjust” the car doors to shut at the end. The Japanese ensured their car door fit when it was designed, so instead of examining accumulated data and trying to figure out the best solution they engineered the outcome from the outset.

“This is important because our behavior is affected by our assumptions or our perceived truths,” Sinek said. “We make decisions based on what we think we know.”

This book was a great read; but to me, it primarily hits branding issues and is only a hammer that does not address many of the nuances experienced in an ever-changing world. However, I believe it is a good source of information and that everyone could use another “tool” in their toolbox.


“Start with Why” is available through LMS/Skillsoft for DLA associates.