Health & Wellness

Starting Your Strategy With 'Why'? Consider These Risks Too

By Jeroen Kraaijenbrink | Nov 14, 2019
Jeroen Kraaijenbrink | ACHNET

For already a decade, Simon Sinek’s book "Start with Why" and his "Golden Circle" are wildly popular. Millions have bought the book and tens of millions have watched Sinek's TED talks over the past years. Furthermore, looking at all the four and five-star ratings, reviews and testimonials, Sinek's ideas are appreciated too. Despite this great uptake—and also because of it—it is useful to reflect a moment on whether or not "starting with why" as basis for strategy is good advice.

The idea and its success

Sinek’s story is simple and compelling: great companies start with "why," unlike everybody else who starts with "how" and "what." "What" refers to describing a company's products and services, "how" to what is unique about them and "why" to the underlying purpose or reason of offering them in the first place. Along those lines he draws a picture with three circles with "why" in the middle, "how" around it and "what" around that: the "Golden Circle."

Looking at just its contents, it is amazing that this story appeals to so many people for so many years. What it says is so basic that one would expect that it should