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Golden Circle: how to inspire other people

Learn the main concepts that make a company and an inspiring leader and mobilize people through the Golden Circle, a methodology developed by Simon Sinek that will change the way you communicate, think and act.

What is the difference between inspired collaborators and others? What is the difference between customers who are inspired by brands and those who are not?

More inspired employees tend to be more productive and creative, and inspired customers tend to be loyal buyers and strong brand promoters.

That's why it's important to understand the fundamentals behind inspiration. Through this, we increase the satisfaction of employees and customers and, consequently, achieve better results.

But what really makes a leader or a brand inspiring? The book Start with Why aims to clarify this.

Simon Sinek presents some concepts that touch on what makes something inspiring, the main one being the Golden Circle.

In this post we will present the mais concepts of the book Start with Why, written by Simon Sinek. We believe it will help you to communicate, think and act in ways that truly inspire others.

start with why simon sinek

Difference between Manipulation and Inspiration

There are basically two ways to influence people's behavior, through manipulation or inspiration.


Manipulation, even if it gives the impression that it refers to something bad, can be a positive practice for companies to a certain extent. Manipulation is usually related to one of 6 factors:

  1. Price reduction: Reducing the price of a product or service can be a very effective short-term measure to increase sales. The problem is when the customer is used to paying a lower price. If the customer gets used to the lower price, it will be much more difficult to convince him to pay more in the future and margins will certainly drop. Falling margins make the company want to sell even more to compensate, turning the use of this form of manipulation into a vicious circle.

  2. Promotions: In the same way as price reduction, applying promotions on the purchase price or carrying out campaigns such as "take three pay two" can drastically affect the company's margins and further encourage the use of this practice.

  3. Exploitation of fear: Organizations that highlight warnings in case of not doing what they suggest are exploiting fear to achieve their goals. This type of practice is quite common in campaigns carried out by public bodies, such as those related to the fight against drugs.

  4. Aspirations: This form of manipulation seeks to do the opposite of exploiting fear. Organizations present something that users want and that the product or service can help them achieve. An example is the promotion of fitness products that "promise" results in record time.

  5. Social group pressure: When a company advertises its product saying that a large group of people use it or x% of experts approve, it is using the manipulation of social group pressure. One of the advertisements we often see using this tactic is for toothpastes: "9 out of 10 dentists approve of y toothpaste".

  6. Novelty: Several companies seek to increase their sales by launching a product with a new feature. As much as this novelty is considered an innovation by many people, the truth is that it is only a short-term differentiation and that will soon end up losing its positive effect on sales. True innovation changes the course of an activity or how we conduct business, like the light bulb, microwave oven and fax machine for example.

Unfortunately, manipulation is only effective in the short term and generates the need to carry out other manipulation tactics, generating a probable decrease in margins and increasing employee stress.


On the other hand, the inspiration tactic is a long-term action that generates consistent results without generating losses.

For this reason, it is very important for brands to be more and more inspiring. May they be able to mobilize people not for a moment, but for many years.

Engage your customers in such a way that they will support you even if you make a mistake, that is, to make them loyal.

We are not saying that manipulation tactics should never be used. There are times when they can be the best way to reach the goal.

As in situations where you want people to perform an action only once. For example when someone loses some good and discloses a reward in exchange for the return.

manipulation and inspiration start with why

What is the Golden Circle?

Simon Sinek has developed what he calls the Golden Circle, which depicts exactly how many companies or inspiring leaders think, act and communicate.

The most important point of the logic behind the Golden Circle is that EVERYTHING must start with why.

Whether it's how a company promotes its brand or how a leader communicates with his team, starting by making it clear why they do what they do is fundamental.

This is what generates identification and engagement, which generate loyalty and productivity and, consequently, better results.

The Golden Circle is made up of three parts and starts from the inside out:

golden circle png

Why do you do it?: The hardest question to answer and the most important. The answer must be purpose, cause, or belief. Why does your company exist? Why do you get up every day to work?

How do you do it?: A little more difficult to be answered, how refers to the differential in carrying out what you do, that is, the delivery value proposition.

What do you do?: the easiest to be defined by organizations or people. It is basically the products or services provided or the activities carried out by the person's role.

Everyone knows what they do, some know how they do it, but very few can answer why they do what they do.

Furthermore, even those who even know why, do not think, act or communicate in the right way.

Inspiring companies and inspiring leaders always think, act and communicate from the inside out of the Golden Circle. Start with Why.

Apple example of how to use the Golden Circle

To show what this means, Simon Sinek brings the example of Apple. It shows how the company's speech would be without using the golden circle and using:

Without using the Golden Circle

We make great computers. They are beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. Want to buy one?

Using the Golden Circle

In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by creating products that are beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. And the result of that is great computers. Want to buy one?

Separating each part of this text we have:

  1. Why? "In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently"

  2. How? "The way we challenge the status quo is by creating products that are beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly."

  3. What? "And the result of that is great computers."

Which of the two speeches was more convincing? Certainly the second, simply because he was clear about his why and because he started with him.

Other companies could hire designers and engineers as good as Apple and do exactly what Apple does and how it does it, but they wouldn't be as successful as Apple.

Simply because what makes people buy Apple products is the identification with their purpose. Replicating why Apple does it is probably something no other company could do.

Unlike competitors, Apple has defined its purpose and not what it does. It's a company that challenges the status quo, not one that makes computers.

This also explains the many different products created throughout its existence without losing its identity, such as: computers, cell phones, watches, stereos, among others.

This TED talk given by Simon Sinek talks exactly about the logic of the Golden Circle.

Characteristics of each part of the Golden Circle (Golden Circle)

The why, how and what is done must be clear to any company or person, but each one of them must also have another characteristic for the Golden Circle to be applied correctly.


The why must be authentic. It's no use saying you have a purpose, but not really believing in it. Sellers, for example, find it much easier to sell products they believe in than others.


The how must be disciplined. The way you express why must remain constant. That is, products and services must always have the differentials that prove the purpose and, in the case of people, a strong culture and values ​​must be maintained.


What should be consistent. Delivering products, services or performing tasks consistently in a way that evidences purpose is critical.

How Successful Organizations Use the Golden Circle

Organizations that express their why clearly make the purchase decision process much simpler for the customer.

But highly successful organizations don't just use the Golden Circle to increase customer satisfaction, they use it to increase employee satisfaction as well.

These companies seek to hire people who are aligned with their purpose and culture.

They do this because they know that: Collaborators aligned with the company tend to be happier and more productive. Happier and more productive employees have higher quality delivery and make customers happier. Happier customers increase the bottom line and make shareholders happy.

As with customers, the company, in addition to hiring employees aligned with its purpose and culture, must be disciplined in the way it treats them (how) and consistently deliver something that proves it (what).

employess clients shareholders start with why

Innovation Diffusion Law

That it is important to be clear and start with why we already understand. However, there is another point highlighted by Simon Sinek that is very important when we talk about customers: The Law of Diffusion of Innovation.

The Law of Diffusion of Innovation is a concept first written by Everett M. Rogers in the book Diffusion of Innovations. Basically it says that the population is divided into 5 groups of a bell-shaped curve:

  1. Innovators: They represent 2.5% of the population and seek new products to use intensively.

  2. Early adopters: They represent 13.5% of the population and quickly realize the potential of new ideas, but on a smaller scale than innovators.

  3. Initial majority: They represent 34% of the population and need the approval of others to adopt innovative products.

  4. Late majority: They also represent 34% of the population. They tend to rely more on what they already use and make changes only after innovation becomes more common.

  5. Laggards: Represent 16% of the population and are the last to adopt innovations. They buy new products when they have no alternative.

difusion of innovation model

When making a purchase, people on the left of the curve are highly driven by purpose, while those on the right are driven by reason, often being influenced by price.

People who are more driven by purpose are much more likely to become loyal customers, which is why they should be the focus of the entire company.

It is from these promoter clients that the brand gains strength and people with less propensity for innovations start to buy the product or service.

We hope you enjoyed this summary of Start with Why by Simon Sinek. We wrote about the concepts that we believe are the most striking, but the book certainly brings many other teachings and, above all, examples of how to be a more inspiring company or leader.

Source: Sinek, Simon. Start with why.


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