Leadership Lesson 2 — On Inspiration via The Golden Circle

Abhishek Paul
2 min readOct 11, 2018

Most companies know What they do, some know How they do it, BUT very few know Why they do it. What is true for companies is true for the individual as well. ” — Simon Sinek

This is the second post that owes a debt of gratitude to Simon Sinek. He became famous for his Ted talk on this concept, as well a book on it, “Start With Why”. The Golden Circle at first glance seems so simple that one wonders how it took so long for anyone to put it together — but that is true for most works of inspired genius.

The Golden Circle is powerful because it speaks to what matters most to us as human beings. This is why those leaders / companies that use this method of communication (with employees, customers, public, etc) are able to establish a deep and loyal connection.

To understand this, let’s look at the flip side, ie communicating from the outside in. This is unfortunately how most conversations / communications typically go. We begin with talking about what we do / have to offer (ie the What), then move on to what makes us different / USP (ie, the How) and finally close with an offer / request to buy from us (ie, the Why). We take the easier route of going from the least fuzzy to the most. We differentiate ourselves based on superior service / quality or lower prices and expect the customer to bite. This works, but not as well or as consistently as understanding and communicating from the Why.

Those few CEOs who know and communicate from the why tend to last longer and perform better. It is important to note that the Why has nothing to do with making money, that is just the result. The CEO has to preach the cause, not just sell the product. Beyond the market need / opportunity and the how is the why. It’s never about the product in the first place (!), it’s about the belief / values and the people involved.

While most people from the outside in, inspiring leaders go from inside out. They have realized that people don’t buy what you do, but why you do. Their goal is not to do business with anyone with a need but with those who believe in what we believe!

They also do not hire people who simply need a job / challenge, but only those believe what they believe. If you hire primarily for need, they will work and leave you for money, but if they believe the same things, they will work for you with blood, sweat and tears.

If you talk about what you believe (the Why) you will attract those who believe the same. But are you talking about it enough?

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