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The Golden Circle of Sinek (Start With Why) [Explanation]

The Golden Circle of Sinek (Start With Why) [Explanation]

What is the model of the golden circle? What kind of theory is this? In this article you will learn how the ‘why’ is so powerful. Read on for an explanation of Simon Sinek ‘s ‘start with why’ theory

What is the golden circle theory?

The golden circle states that you should start with the why in your communication Then you explain how you do it and finally you become concrete by telling what exactly you are doing.

Do not start with the most concrete, but start with the most woolly and abstract and only then become concrete.

This is a simple model. Simon Sinek, the creator of the golden circle, even calls it the simplest model in the world: you just have to think about why, how, what …

The famous Ted talk about why, what & how

Why does the golden circle work? Examples of ‘start with the why’

Why is it important to start with your why? People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it. There are hundreds of computer manufacturers and hundreds of hairdressers in the city.

Let’s look at some examples:

Why buy something from Apple and not a 2X stronger computer that is cheaper? Not just because you support Apple’s why, but because Apple’s why is very clearly communicated: doing things differently from the status quo.

Apple never immediately says, “We make excellent computers.”

Also take the example of Harley Davidson. Harley Davidson embodies the values ​​and lifestyle of the people who wear it. The symbol is no longer just about Harley Davidson motorcycles. Instead, the logo embodies a whole range of values ​​of the people who wear the corresponding clothing, for example.

The why gives fuel!

The why creates loyalty and fuel. With the quote below, the ‘what’ has not yet been mentioned:

“I am really happy that when I get up in the morning I can do the things I love, and I can inspire people. The fun is to invent and develop products and services. It’s really great. The best is : we can also make business with it. We are doing very well. “

The ‘what’ or ‘how’ has not yet been mentioned with this. Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech was not an I have a plan speech.

If you know the why, you can take any how!

The gym is no fun, but you do it anyway. You do it for the pleasure that it gives you later.

The what is the proof of the why .

Why, what & how in companies

start with why in companies

The golden circle is a useful tool in companies. Apple begins the why in the following way:

In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo – we believe in a new, unique approach.

Their how is:

We do this by giving our products a unique design and making them easy to use.

Their what is:

We just make great computers.

Using the golden circle in an elevator pitch or job application

When you need to give an elevator pitch, it can be smart to make use of the golden circle. This means that you don’t start by saying what you are doing, but that you first ‘tease’ by naming an abstract ‘why’.

You can also have a powerful effect in cover letters and job interviews by stating quite early on why you have applied for the position in question. As long as you also give enough concrete examples in which your why is expressed, otherwise they are just smooth talk.

What is your why? This way you can determine your why

There are three helpful ways to determine your why :

The pitfalls of ‘start with why’

golden circle sinek

There are two reasons not to start with the why:

  • Most people don’t care why. They just need a product because they have to use it.
  • The why creates a major pitfall  to lapse into itchy office language and smooth talk. Phrases like: ‘to make the world a better place’, ‘revolutionize the industry’ or ‘to help our customers grow’ can be very annoying to people who just want to know what they are getting from you .

Remarkably, the golden circle has become an academic model

Simon Sinek’s theory of the golden circle made it into the academic world of education quite early after his introduction. In universities and colleges, the golden circle is often included in the curriculum. This is remarkable because there is no scientific research or evidence for The Golden Circle.

Who is Simon Sinek?

Simon Oliver Sinek (born October 9, 1973) is a British-American author, motivational speaker and management consultant. He is the author of several books, including his first book Start With Why (2009). Sinek started his career with the New York advertising agencies Euro RSCG and Ogilvy & Mather. Later he launched his own company, Sinek Partners.

Books by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek’s big, well-known books are: Start with the why, Start with why, Leaders eat last and Together is Better.

To your success!

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!

1 Comment

  1. Mike Summerfield

    20 years training organisations in mindset and beliefs, and your site is incredibly well-written and revealing – a great combination of depth with simplicity! Love the site, and thank you…