Start with Why

Start with Why

Having recently read the global best seller by Simon Sinek ‘Start with Why’; it really struck a chord with us. We implore you to add this book to your reading list if you haven’t done so already but in case you don’t get round to it we’ve put together this (very) brief synopsis of some of the key points!

The Golden Circle

Sinek is a marketer who believes that marketing is about communicating clearly, concisely and consistently and not about manipulating people. He uses the golden circle concept to powerfully demonstrate a communication hierarchy:


The premise is that we should always start with WHY.  So instead of asking “WHAT should we do to compete?” Ask “WHY did we start doing what we’re doing in the first place? What can we do to bring our cause to life?”  Be careful that price, quality or features aren’t the primary currency for your business – it is very hard to differentiate for any period of time or build loyalty on those factors alone.

A clear WHY provides the context for everything else that you do and sets expectations – talk about the WHY and prove it with the WHAT.  Although you should start with the WHY you must also know the HOW!  Think of it like a bow and arrow ; you need to pull back the arrow in order to launch it and hit your target (the WHY).

Key points about TRUST

  • Trust is a feeling not a rationale experience.
  • Trust only begins to emerge when we have a sense that another person or organisation is driven by things other than their self-gain.
  • Value = a transference of trust
  • Trust is built whereas value is perceived
  • When we share values and beliefs with others, we form trust
  • A clear WHY draws in people (staff, customers, suppliers, peers) with the same beliefs as you
  • Trust is maintained when the values and beliefs are actively managed
  • People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

Limbic versus Neocortex

Decision-making and the ability to explain those decisions exist in different parts of the brain. Our limbic brain is powerful enough to drive behaviour that sometimes contradicts our rational and analytical understanding of a situation.  In fact, decisions that are made with the ‘gut’ – a.k.a. the limbic brain tend to be faster, higher quality decisions. Otherwise, we have a tendency to over-think.

Life is all about balance

It is so important to balance driving business goals with the long-term sustainability of the business.  Yes, price promotions and other such manipulations will drive immediate short term sales but they don’t instil trust, add value or breed loyalty.

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