I am now reading “Start with Why”, subtitled “How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek. There is an interesting concept called the Golden Circle with the wordsWhy, How and What. As the title of the book suggests we should always start with “Why”.
The concept of “The Golden Circle” is inspired by the golden ratio, a simple mathematical relationship that has captivated mathematicians, biologists, architects,artists, musicians and naturists. The Golden Circe finds order and predictability in human behavior and helps us to understand why we do what we do.
Let’s see first what the Why, What and How mean:
WHAT: Every company, organization or individual is able to say what they do. They can easily identify their products or services.
HOW: Some companies, organizations or individuals are able to say how they do what they do. It is referred to a “differentiating value proposition”, “proprietary process” or “unique selling proposition”. Hows are given to explain how something is different or better.
WHY: Very few companies, organizations or individuals can say why they do what they do. The“Why” is not making money, which is a result. The “why” is what is the purpose, cause or belief? Why does your company exist? Why should anyone care?
Most of the time, people think in this order “What”, “How” and “Why”. We say what we do, sometimes how we do what we do and rarely why we do what we do. This is different for the inspired leaders and companies.
If we take for example computer companies, company X will say:
We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. Wanna buy one?
They start with WHAT: computers Then HOW: how their computers are great and better than others. and finally, a call to action: Buy!
This is the norm used by lots of companies for all kinds of products and services.
Now let’s see how another computer company named Apple communicates:
Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo us by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. And we happen to make great computers, Wanna buy one?
Do you see the difference?
The Why, How and What are clearly identified and in the correct order.
Apple starts their message with WHY, a purpose, a cause or belief that has nothing to do with what they sell. Then, Apple says HOW they do it and there is still no mention of the products. After that Apple finally tells WHAT their products are. Lastly, the call to action: Buy!