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The Golden Circle by Simon Sinek

The Golden Circle by Simon Sinek

The Golden Circle is a brand positioning model developed by Simon Sinek. This model has been set up following his studies on the succes of the most influential leaders and companies in the world. Sinek discovered that all successful brands think, act and communicate in the same way.

Start with Why

According to Sinek most organisations start to tell what they sell. When companies were asked why their customers are actually their customers, most companies responded that they offer great products that are well priced. According to Sinek this is proof that they have no idea why their customers buy with them.

Sinek discovered a pattern among great inspiring leaders and organisations in the world. Whether it’s apple or Martin Luther King or the Wright brother. According to Sinek they all think, act and communicate in the same way. And it is the complete opposite of everyone else. They start with ‘why’. Sinek codified this thinking as The Golden Circle.

The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is composed of three circles. The outer circle represents what, the second circle is how and the core represents why.

What: The products or services a company sells. Every organisation knows what they do.

How: Explanation of businesses how they do what they do. A differentiated value proposition, a proprietary process or the USP. Some companies know this.

Why: The belief of a company. That what drives and inspires them to do business. This is never ‘to make a profit’. That is always a result. By why Sinek means: ‘What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belieft. Why does your organization get out of bed in the morning. And why should anyone care?’ Very few organizations really know this.

As a result the way companies communicate is from the outside in. They start with the clearest thing and end with the fuzziest thing. But according to Sinek inspired leaders and organizations, regardless of size and industry, think act en communicate from the inside out.


The ideas of Sinek are grounded in the tenets of biology. When looking at a cross-section of the human brain, from the top down, the human brain is broken into three major components that correlate with the golden circle. The neocortex corresponds with the what-level. It is responsible for all of the rational thought and language. The middle two sections make up the limbic brains, which are responsible for feelings like trust and loyalty. They are also responsible for all human behaviour, all decision making and have no capacity for language.

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