Start With Why

Start With Why (TBD) Simon Sinek


“There are two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.” – Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek gained his fame with his three questions: why, how, what? Here is his very elegant framework




We should start with ‘why’ and work outwards from there. Simon Sinek dubs this the remarkable way of thinking about your company/message. This is in direct opposition to how most companies are used to define themselves, working outside-in (the conventional approach). He builds on the divide between brain structures, speaking to the limbic (primitive – why, how) part of the brain that controls decision making and emotion, instead of the neocortex (human) part that controls rational thought.



Very few organizations know ‘why’ they do what they do. ‘Why’ is not about making money or increasing share prices – that is a result. It is about the purpose, cause or belief. It is the very reason an organization exists.


Some organizations know ‘how’ they do it. These are the things that make them special or set them apart from the competition.


Every organization knows ‘what’ they do. These are the products they sell or the services they provide.



  1. Simon Sinek uses Apple as an example in his famous TED Talk – why: we believe in challenging the status quo and doing things differently – how: our products are beautifully designed and easy to use – what: a product called the iphone/ipad/iwatch/etc.
  2. Here is Google – why: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful – how: thanks to our ability in creating algorithms – what: that help us offering you several search resources in every possible device
  3. De Kleine Consultant – why: to bring advice where it normally does not reach and train students – how: by offering a development platform for outstanding students – what: non-profit consultancy projects under the guidance of a multinational strategy consultancy


When to Use

The Why-How-What framework (also called the Golden Circle) can be used for defining the reason your company exists. It can be used to increase both rigidity (in your vision/core competences – the why and how) and flexibility (in your final products – the what).