The Golden Circle

Today I have seen a very interesting video where Simon Sinek, an expert in the matter of leadership, talked about what he calls “The Golden Circle”, an idea that proves why some companies succeed while others don’t.

He points out that companies are more worried about the WHAT, the product or service they sell, instead of the WHY you do it. And how a company thinks, acts and communicates should be based on the natural human decision making, which is based on feelings, trust, loyalty, … the WHY.

If for example you want to sell a cooking book, you won’t say

  • buy this book because it has colourful pictures, soft pages, hardcover, it is cheap, etc. (WHAT)

Instead you will say

  • buy this book because it will help you prepare the best mediterranean recipies. (WHY)

A company may have money, the best people and perfect market conditions. But if they do not believe in why they are doing their job, this company won’t last long. And Simon gives a few examples:

  1. Apple doesn’t sell computers, they sell design and comfort. Versus Dell, more focused on the computers themselves.
  2. The Wright Brothers did not have money or market opportunity, but they had a dream. Versus Samuel Pierpont Langley who just wanted money and popularity.

The difference on the speach is clear: I have a dream versus I have a plan. I like this sentence he says: “Those who lead, inspire”

I have lived this myself when I worked selling American Express Cards to little shops in Zaragoza. What failed? I did not believe this card could help these people’s business. I could explain the WHAT but not WHY.

On the other hand, I see a risk here. People/companies may be desperate to sell and in consequence they may try to reach buyers feelings without being honest. These companies will fail in the long term, as when a user feels used or betrayed, the society ends up knowing it.

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