Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

Simon Sinek

Overview: In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why? The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. “Officers eat last,” he said. Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What's symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort – even their own survival – for the good of those in their care. This work describes ways in which leaders can create a “circle of safety” for their followers; a circle that is inclusive, builds trust and camaraderie and enhances effectiveness.

Discussion: Do you agree with the authors’ assertion that “by changing the amount [of data], we change the essence” (pg. 10), and will big data change the human experience as much as some of its messengers claim? Does big data signal an evolutionary or revolutionary change in human interactions, and what is the practical significance of either conclusion as it relates to the nature and character of war? Are there fundamental limits to what we can capture and process as data?