In his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, British-American author Simon Sinek talks about the concept of the Golden Circle. It is a framework that Sinek reckon can be used by organizations to build inspiring movements and built to last enterprise.
Sinek’ TED Talk based on START WITH WHY is one of the most watched TED video of all time.
In the book, Sinek highlights purpose-driven leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, John F Kennedy, Steve Jobs, The Wright Brothers and companies (Apple, Harley-Davidson, Disney, Southwest Airline) as models of how a purpose can be created to inspire a culture together, away from the manipulative society we live in today.
The Golden Circle
A framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
The concept of The Golden Circle was inspired by the golden ratio—a simple mathematical relationship that has fascinated mathematicians, biologists, architects, artists, musicians and naturists since the beginning of history. From the Egyptians to Pythagoras to Leonardo da Vinci, many have looked to the golden ratio to provide a mathematical formula for proportion and even beauty. It also supports the notion that there is more order in nature than we think, as in the symmetry of leaves and the geometric perfection of snowflakes.
The Golden Circle provides compelling evidence of how much more we can achieve if we remind ourselves to start everything we do by first asking why. The Golden Circle is an alternative perspective to existing assumptions about why some leaders and organizations have achieved such a disproportionate degree of influence.
WHAT: Every single company and organization on the planet knows WHAT they do. This is true no matter how big or small, no matter what industry. Everyone is easily able to describe the products or services a company sells or the job function they have within that system. WHATs are easy to identify.”
HOW: Some companies and people know HOW they do WHAT they do. Whether you call them a “differentiating value proposition,” “proprietary process” or “unique selling proposition,” HOWs are often given to explain how something is different or better. Not as obvious as WHATs, many think these are the differentiating or motivating factors in a decision. It would be false to assume that’s all that is required. There is one missing detail:
WHY: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money—that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?
People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.
As German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche once quipped “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Organizations that are built on a strong WHY can withstand most of the challenges that they would eventually face. A brand is a promise made to the target audience. Great brands under promise and over deliver, they sweat the small stuffs by paying attention to details and basing their business decisions on their core values, mission and vision statements.