Leaders Start With Why

Jyoti Ranjan
3 min readAug 8, 2022

The post is for aspiring leaders, leaders in progress, and leaders who want to transform from Good to Great.

Taken from the book by Simon Sinek, there are two types of leaders:

> those who decide to manipulate to get to the end result.

> those who start with the end result in mind and let everything else naturally fall into place.

John Maxwell on Leadership

How they do it is by following a naturally occurring pattern Golden Circle: Why, How, and What.

Golden Circle

Why: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate why they do what they do. This isn’t about running a profitable company — that’s a result. Why is it all about your purpose? Why does your company exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

How: Some people and companies know how they do what they do. Whether you call them a “differentiating value proposition” or a “unique selling proposition,” HOWs are often given to explain how something is different or better.

What: Every single company on the planet knows what they do. This is true no matter how big or small the company is, or no matter what industry they belong to. Everyone can easily describe the products or services their company sells or the job function they have within the company.

When we start with “Why”, we go from the inside out of the circle. “Why” is the reason to buy and the “Whats” merely represents the tangible products as proof of that belief. “Whats” are the reasons we can point to rationalize why we so much like a company over another.

The Biology of Golden Circle

Biology underpins The Golden Circle, per Sinek, because it follows the notion of biology by clarifying similarities to the way our brains function. The newest and outermost section of the brain (the neocortex) processes sensory information, higher-level reasoning, and communicating through language. This part of the brain also corresponds to the question of what.

The middle two sections deal with the limbic system, which gets into our feelings, memories, moods, and behavior. The limbic system addresses the questions of how and why humans behave the way we do. In other words. our feelings, memories, moods, and behavior controls a larger portion of our means for making decisions than does the neocortex.

Relationship between Golden Circle and Human Brain

Apart from Golden Circle, please do a simple test for decision-making — The celery Test.
The celery test is a simple way of helping you make the right decisions.

The test goes like this: Imagine yourself at a dinner party and you have only great people giving you great advice on what you need for your business. Each one gives you his expert and documented point of view: You should want soymilk says one expert, chocolate cookies says another, pudding says a third, and celery cries out the last.
Once at a grocery store to get all this, could someone look at your groceries at the checkout line and immediately know what you’re all about?
Oh, and the business you’re in is related to Health… If you’re just purchasing the soymilk and celery, then yes.
Passing the celery test is about maintaining credibility and integrity day in and day out, constantly.
Passing the celery test is about saying what you do AND doing what you say, consistently.

Passing the celery test is about discipline.

Before starting any work a clear Why can really make a difference.