March 16, 2022 4 min read

How to Use the Golden Circle to Transform Your Workplace


Tips to Inspire Cooperation, Trust, and Change in Your Business

Change leadership is an important principle for organisations who are looking to adapt to changing business conditions, attract new talent, engage and motivate employees, and to make a positive impact on their bottom lines. Change leaders are those who provide the strategic direction needed to positively transform business operations.

The ‘Golden Circle’ is a model of effective management which can be used to differentiate brands and inspire cooperation, trust, and change in an organisation.

This article will explain the Golden Circle and how you can use it to transform not just the leadership in your workplace, but also the way your organisation operates.


What Is the Golden Circle?

The Golden Circle is a strategy model that organisations can use to stand out from their competition. The concept of the Golden Circle was introduced by an American-British business consultant named Simon Sinek, who laid out the principles in a TED Talk in 2009. Subsequently, he has written a series of books about the importance of purpose as related to the Golden Circle. He is also an inspirational speaker who travels globally and speaks on the topics of leadership and business strategy.

The Golden Circle, as defined by Sinek, is a tool that organisations can use to understand more clearly why they are in business, and what they are trying to accomplish. It has three levels:

  • What: What the organisation does. Every organisation or team understands this – it is the products they sell or the services they offer.
  • How: How the organisation or team does what they do. This is what makes them special and sets them apart from the competition – the how is often their unique selling proposition or USP.
  • Why: Why the organisation or team does what they do. Commonly, this is confused with making money – but making money is the result of work. Many organisations misunderstand their ‘why,’ Sinek says, which is actually related to their purpose, cause, or beliefs. This is the underlying emotional reason for why the company exists.

According to Sinek, misunderstanding the ‘why’ is a real problem for many organisations.  As he states, people don’t buy ‘what’ a company does – they buy ‘why’ the company does it.


Why Is the Golden Circle Important?

The Golden Circle is important for organisations because it sets a foundation for strategic direction, culture, and alignment between stakeholders.

But more than that, using the Golden Circle is important because it can present a new way for organisations to think about priorities and strategic direction. Many business leaders understand their ‘how’ and ‘what,’ but give little attention to the ‘why’ component.

By starting with the ‘why,’ Sinek explains, organisations can communicate their purpose and inspire others to act. This connects with employees, customers, and key stakeholders to not only generate trust, but also loyalty. Therefore, defining your ‘why’ can be an impactful addition to your business strategy, marketing and sales efforts, people initiatives, and more.


Clues Indicating You May Need to Put the Golden Circle to Work for You

Maybe you think you have the ‘why’ nailed down. But how sure are you about that? Here are some clues indicating you may need to revisit the ‘why’ stage of the Golden Circle:


  • Your product is good, and you understand the market – yet you still are not meeting your sales goals.
  • Your competitors, both those bigger and smaller than you, seem to be acquiring your customers and pulling ahead of you in the market.
  • Some competitors seem to inspire more loyalty and engagement among their customers – the very customers you should be winning over.
  • Other companies seem to enjoy more success than you do.
  • The level of employee engagement within your organisation is okay, but not what you think it should be.


How to Use the Golden Circle in Your Business

Using the Golden Circle to help you focus on the ‘why’ is a critical step to take to ensure continued and sustained business success. While using a professional change management advisor will help your efforts, here is a general idea of the steps to take:

  1. Define your ‘why’ – Why are you in business? Why does it exist?
  2. Focus on creating an emotional appeal – Think about the emotional response you want your employees, customers, and key stakeholders to have. Are you addressing a fear? Are you there for amusement? Are you creating hope? Are you seeking to energise people? How can people connect to your organisation at an emotional level?
  3. Be consistent and authentic – Words count, but so does every part of the experience you are creating for your employees, customers, and key stakeholders. Make sure the experience is consistent across all of your platforms, in all of your communications, and in all of your interactions.
  4. Stick to your story – Your interactions with employees, customers, and key stakeholders are a way to reinforce your story – your ‘why.’ Make sure this story is the same in everything you do so it is clear who you are, what you stand for, and what your ‘why’ truly is.
  5. Be specific – Your ‘why’ is not just about making the world a better place, giving people more options, or being an agent for change. It has to be a very specific calling for a very specific action.


Seek Outside Help When Crafting Your ‘Why’

It’s natural for organisations to get mired in details and have difficulty figuring out how their Golden Circle should look. This is where our expertise as change management consultants can provide clarity around your team or organisation’s strategic direction. At the Sigmoid Curve Consulting Group, we have experienced professionals who can assist with talent assessments, leadership development programs, transition coaching, executive coaching, organizational capability strategy development, and more. All with the goal of helping you create a more effective, diverse, and successful workplace. To learn more about how we can help enact change, develop resilience, and create core capabilities for growth, contact us today.


Find Your Why

Harold Hillman
Harold Hillman

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