What is that aspect of leadership that sets successful leaders apart from everyone else? Simon Sinek has changed his outlook on business, relationships and life because of a realisation. This realisation is dramatically altering the way we, as leaders think and act, and it will profoundly change your own point of view.  

Think. Act. Communicate

Simon Sinek has codified a pattern of thinking that is apparent in great leaders. He references out-of-the-box thinkers like The Wright Brothers and Martin Luther King to call our minds to real, life altering leadership.

At the heart of this thinking pattern is how each successful leader thinks, acts, and communicates. Sinek states that all great leaders—regardless of their mission—think, act and communicate the exact same way. Remarkably, it’s the opposite way everyone else thinks; which begs the question, ‘What’s the secret of great leaders?’ Fortunately, Sinek has translated this pattern of thinking into a simple-to-understand format called The Golden Circle. Here’s how it works.


How do most leaders think?

Every single person has a driving force behind their thinking, their actions, and their communication. The Golden Circle is a simple way to demonstrate three key words in our thinking: What, How, and Why.

Looking at The Golden Circle above, you will notice that most of us think from the outside in. In other words, we begin with what we do, figure out how to do it, and then (rarely) explain why we do it. As Simon Sinek rightfully points out, this is how most marketing is done—and it’s also how most people think about their careers and their lives.

An example can be stated as follows:

–       WHAT: This is a great tasting hamburger

–       HOW: It’s made with 100% pure beef patties, cheese, and BBQ sauce

–       WHY: …

The WHY is often fuzzy and unclear. It’s the part of The Golden Circle that doesn’t get enough airtime in our thinking, our acting, or our communication. This way of thinking seems logical to us, but at its very core it is painfully mundane and ineffective. So, is there a better way?

How do GREAT leaders think?

By simply reversing the order of these three driving questions, the format of our communication changes dramatically. In fact, it goes in the complete opposite direction and creates a whole new way of thinking. When our thinking changes, so do our actions and our motivations.

If we start with the WHY, everything becomes a lot clearer. Let’s see how this works:

–       WHY: These burgers will make you happy

–       HOW: We take great care in making burgers with fresh, tasty ingredients

–       WHAT: It’s a sublimely delicious burger. Want one?

The WHAT has now become the insignificant part of The Golden Circle because we’re thinking from the inside out this time. The WHAT is kind of obvious. It’s the WHY that should provoke thought into whatever it is we are thinking, doing or saying. The WHY will also alter the reasoning behind the HOW and the WHAT.

You can carry this principle into any form of life or business and it will have a profound effect on the outcome. Focusing on the WHY rather than the WHAT is essential in real success. WHY do you get out of bed in the morning? WHY should you buy this car instead of that one? WHY do you and your team work so hard every day? WHY?

How does this apply to leadership?

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Simon Sinek explains that the WHY is a motivational force in human thinking. If you explain to people why they should do something, why they should buy something, or why they should change their way of thinking, you have reached the heart of their motivation.

“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” Sinek goes on to explain that this is not a fickle concept that he himself has come up with—it’s a biological fact. The WHAT part of our motivation comes from the rational part of the brain; while the HOW & WHY parts come from the emotional part.

Great leaders know that the only way to tap into the desires of people is to motivate them with the WHY rather than the WHAT. Great leaders are emotionally intelligent thinkers. They’re more intuitive in their decision making and allow their belief system to drive them in their lives and their careers.

Watch this TED video and see for yourself how this simple way of thinking can & will change the way you think, act and communicate.