Model: The Golden Circle

January 19th, 2021

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WHAT - everyone knows

  • company: products or services

  • person: job



HOW - some know

  • "differenciating value proposition",

  • "proprietary process",

  • "unique selling proposition"


> I think it's better explained in: Model: Clarity of why, discipline of how, consistency of what

> Yes it's what makes you special.

> But that's not the point

> The point is

> - what are your values & beliefs?

> - How do you want to operate?

> - When are you in your natural best?

>    eg. when you are lying, faking and cheating or when you are open, truthful and helping?



WHY - very few can clearly articulate

  • What is your purpose, cause or belief

  • Why does your company exist?

  • Why should anyone care?


(src: Book: Start With Why - Simon Sinek p37)



I think this piece is always pretty badly explained.

Maybe because it's the intro piece, for people new to the concept.

But I find it lacking every time I read it.

And especially the way HOW is explained, just makes me confused...


My sense making:


(3) WHAT

Everything you DO

  • job

  • hobby

  • friends

  • looking for a partner to share your life with

  • creating a family

  • having children

These are all WHATs.


These should all be expressions of your why.

Maybe some were started, out of balance with your why.

When out of balance, they will make your life 'fine' at best, and 'miserable' or 'unliveable' at worst.


Probably, most were made without being conscious with your WHY.

But your gut feeling knows your WHY (and HOWs).

It simply does not know how to articulate it clearly.



(2) HOW

The way you do things,

when you're at your natural best.

Not just the way you do things.

You can do things out of balance with your why.

But when you're at your natural best.

That's your HOW.


It's a collection of values and beliefs.


When someone's behaviour makes you

maybe, it goes against one of your HOWs.


HOW is about values and beliefs

Quote: we form trust when we share values and beliefs

Someone who "just doesn't get you" or whom you distrust instinctively, probably has (enough) different values and beliefs.



(1) WHY

WHY is who you are, your upbringing.

WHY is what you're supposed to be doing with your life


Vision is a world you're working towards

Quote: the reason we call it vision

Model: Having vs finding a vision


In the Golden Circle model, WHY == Vision.

There is a distinction between the terms (Model: Why vs Vision).

But in this model, both are within the WHY section.

The distinction is more useful when you're trying to find & articulate your WHY and your Vision.



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