David Mead

Speaker, L&D

David Mead

Expert Start With Why Facilitator

David Mead believes that every one of us deserves to wake up inspired to go to work, feel safe while we’re there, and come home at the end of the day fulfilled by the work we do. He works with leaders to help them create an environment where people show up to work because they want to, not because they have to. In fact, everything David does is designed to propel people to be a little more than they were the day before, so they can do more good in the world.

In 2004, David began his career in corporate training. In 2009, he became frustrated and discouraged by his personal experience with poor leadership in the workplace. That same year, he met Simon Sinek, a world-renowned thought leader and the author of Start With Why and the New York Times bestseller, Leaders Eat Last. An opportunity to join Simon’s team presented itself, and David eagerly jumped on board. Drawn to the Start With Why team’s desire to inspire people to do the things that inspire them, David began developing communication and content, which evolved into speaking and facilitating workshops inspired by Simon’s simple, yet 
powerful, message.

David now travels internationally, helping people shift their perceptions about the reason their organizations really exist, what leadership is, and how human biology plays into it all. He has worked with organizations in a wide variety of industries including Johnson and Johnson, Zappos, Capital One, Home Depot and Hyatt.

David also co-hosts the Start With Why podcast, which is downloaded in over 170 countries. He boasts a BA in Communication and an MBA, with a focus on Organizational Development.

Leaders Eat Last

David offers a perspective, based in biology, which supports our natural desire as human beings to collaborate. He highlights the importance of the environment we, as leaders, are creating within our organizations. Through examples and stories, David will explain how an environment where people feel safe and feel like their leaders have their back is the foundation for cooperation, innovation, fulfillment at work and long term progress.

Leadership is a choice. As leaders we can choose to run our organization in one of two ways. We can put the numbers first or we can put our people first. As organizations grow larger it’s very easy to focus on the numbers first because numbers are easy to see and easy to measure.

When we focus more on the numbers, we naturally focus less on the individual people that produce those numbers. In fact, we often begin to see our people as numbers themselves. This abstraction is dangerous and has the power to desensitize us to the human element that is vital to great organizations.

The more disconnected we become from the individuals we depend on, the more we’ll see that innovation, discretionary effort and engagement decrease. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. When we create an environment where each individual feels like they belong and where they operate in a ‘Circle of Safety’, they can spend their time and energy working together toward a higher cause that inspires them, rather than spending their time and energy protecting themselves from each other.

Start With Why

David shares a powerfully simply idea called the Golden Circle (discovered by Simon Sinek) and builds upon it with examples and stories that bring it to life. David has partnered with Simon Sinek and his team since 2009 and, like Simon, envisions a world in which a majority of people go home at the end of the day fulfilled by the work they do. The Golden Circle plays a vital role in the realization of that world.

This simple idea explains how great leaders inspire through the way they think, act and communicate. It’s not about changing who we are, it’s about understanding who we are.

Highlights from David talk:

  • What you do becomes more powerful when you know Why you do it.
  • How to use the Why as a filter, giving you an alternative perspective on your organization and even your career.
  • The importance of human connection through trust and authenticity and how it is vital to an organization success.
  • Why some organizations are more innovative, more profitable, command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike and are able to repeat their success over and over (and how you can, too).


Harness the Power of Why

More and more people are becoming familiar with the concept of Why and the Golden Circle (codified by Simon Sinek). This keynote talk is the next step; designed for leaders who are already familiar and inspired by the Golden Circle and are asking themselves, “Now what do we do with it?”

This talk introduces 5 Key Principles that can help leaders harness the power of Why in their organization. The five key principles are:

  1. Start with Why – a review of the Why and the Golden Circle, codified by Simon Sinek.
  2. Right-to-Left Thinking – a way of thinking that can lead to innovation and breakthrough in alignment with an organization’s Why.
  3. Adaptive Leadership – a method for leaders to create an environment where stakeholders understand how to approach and solve challenges together.
  4. Being and Doing – a distinction that allows leaders to be more intentional in their leadership and the environment they create.
  5. Relationship – a deeper look into how relationship with people, tasks, environment and the Why is the foundation for accomplishment.

Each principal, while powerful on its own, derives its full strength when combined with the rest. David uses several examples and stories to illustrate how each principal builds on the others and how the combination of all five can help leaders create an environment of engagement, innovation and breakthrough.

Note: This is designed as a 60 minute (max) keynote talk. For greater death and understanding regarding the 5 Key Principles, David also offers the Harness the Power of Why Workshop in half-day or full-day sessions.

Tune Your Team

 Length: ½ day to full day

Audience: Senior leadership teams

The banking crisis of 2008 is an extreme example of how incentives for individuals can become completely out of balance and work against the coherence of the group, with devastating effect. The best organizations are those in which incentives for the individual are balanced by those that keep the group strong over the long term.

Since 2011 David has worked in partnership with Simon Sinek and the Start With Why team to help organizations bring to life the ideas Simon shares.

Building on David’s keynote talk, and drawing on material from Simon’s latest book Leaders Eat Last this workshop leads participants through exploring how they can tune their organization’s environment.

Participants will learn how to create a Circle of Safety within which everyone can work together to face the dangers that exist outside in a competitive marketplace. This is possible when the needs of the individual are balanced or ‘tuned’ with the wider interests of the group.

Participants will learn how they can harness the natural drivers that exist in us all to create an environment that attracts the right people, keeps them loyal and encourages them to work together to create remarkable results.

Highlights from the workshop:

  • Learn how to create a team that works in harmony with our natural biological drivers, balancing the needs of the individual with those that enable the group to thrive over the long term.
  • Explore how to harness those drivers within your current working environment to create teams that are high-performing, working together to combat the economic threats to your business.
  • Learn and begin to apply leadership skills that will enable you to draw your team together, enhancing trust and loyalty.
  • Understand how the Circle of Safety combines powerfully with the Golden Circle to generate a working environment that is fulfilling, inspiring and that results in increased discretionary effort.

Why Discovery for Individuals

Length: ½ day or full day*

As simple as the Why concept is to understand, one of the biggest challenges a company will face is clearly articulating its Why. While it may be felt, it can be difficult to put into words. Finding the words for our Why is the first step in being able to effectively communicate it. Until it can be put into words it’s very difficult to put it into action and nearly impossible to scale.

Inspired by Simon’s Sinek’s Why Discovery process, this workshop focuses on helping teams or organizations find and clearly articulate their Why in simple language that inspires action. In the workshop, participants will:

  • Gain a foundational knowledge of the Golden Circle
  • Learn about and access the Limbic system of the brain
  • Learn how the concept of Contribution + Impact makes an inspiring Why
  • Take part in exercises designed to accomplish two things:
  1. Articulate the first draft of the organization’s Why, and
  2. Relate the Why to the organization’s values and guiding principles
  • Deepen their awareness and appreciation of the human attributes that inspire their culture

Explore opportunities for immediate application of their Why

While the half day will enable participants to get a first draft of their team or organization’s Why statement, the full day allows for refinement of the draft and a deeper understanding.

*The length and details of this workshop may be customized to fit the need of each client.


From Possibility To Action

Length: 2 hrs to ½ day

Having discovered the organization’s Why, the next step is to use it to uncover possibilities that previously were left untouched.

The ‘From Possibility to Action’ Workshop starts by briefly introducing the Hierarchy of Conversations — a simple yet highly effective framework of language that enables teams to identify possibilities that they may not have realized even existed. Then, using the organization’s clearly articulated Why and Hows (derived from the Articulate the Why workshop) as filters, participants are taken through a process to turn possibilities into opportunities and then into tangible actions.

The outcome of the session will be fresh ideas to take the organization forward; ideas that are absolutely consistent with their Why, complete with definitive actions to bring them to life.

This workshop naturally follows the Articulate the Why workshop and acts as a natural link to the Harness the Power of Why workshop.

Harness The Power of Why

For organizations that know their Why, this workshop is designed for leadership teams to gain a greater appreciation of the Golden Circle.

This workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to see a different perspective on the challenges they face, revealing new possibilities. Specifically it will cover these Five Key Principles: Start With Why, Right-to-Left Thinking, Adaptive Leadership, Being and Doing; and Relationship. The session will also provide an introduction to the tools and techniques of simple, clear and powerful leadership that participants can start using immediately.

This session will draw on the number of relevant examples as appropriate. Participants will also have the option to take a deeper dive into either the organizations why or adaptive leadership techniques, allowing them to work on the current challenges they face.

* This workshop is ideally delivered over a full day, enabling participants to work on applying the techniques to the challenges they currently face. A half-day option, while covering the Five Key Principles, does not allow sufficient time for participants to practice using the techniques.

Defining Moments

Depending on location and size of group, David also partners with Peter Docker and other members of Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team, enabling them to offer these programs across the world to any size organization.


To provide leaders with simple, tangible leadership behaviors that can increase trust between them and those they lead, resulting in discretionary effort, empowerment and taking calculated risk.


Culture = Values + Behavior. In order to build a culture in which people feel like they belong and have a desire to advance our cause, leaders must consciously behave in ways that are consistent with the organization’s values and beliefs. Simply put, as leaders, we can’t expect our people to treat customers in a way that reflects our values and beliefs if we are not treating them the same way. Leaders have daily opportunities to behave in a way that is consistent with the organization’s values and beliefs. The collection of these opportunities, called defining moments, are what create a culture.

Defining Moments:

Each culture/organization will have unique Defining Moments – certain, identifiable events or circumstances that define the leadership experience for all. These moments reflect the values, behavior and decision making of an organization. Great organizations understand these moments and use them to build a culture of trust, increased empowerment and calculated risk, which leads to innovation. Culture and Defining Moments can be both negative and positive. The focus and purpose of this session will be to explore your defining moments and increase awareness of how a leader’s behavior can make all the difference in building trust, relationships, and inspiring performance in their teams.


Through table exercises and group interaction, David will help the participants bring the general concept of Defining Moments into their context. Leaders will work to determine some of their own Defining Moments, along with the type of positive, inspiring leadership behaviors that should be exhibited during those moments. This heightened awareness can lead to more positive Defining Moments in the organization, building trust and the Circle of Safety.