Strategy: Starting with Why

By | May 29, 2014
This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Doing Strategy

Simon Sinek’s TED talk – “How great leaders inspire action” about the “golden circle” is a good place to begin when setting out to create a strategy or marketing message.  Starting by understanding and communicating the WHY behind what you do is a very powerful way to get others to support it.  Simon asserts that this an element of the strategy behind companies like Apple responsible for exceptionally high levels of innovation and customer loyalty and promoter-ship.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

I think that the benefits of understanding and communicating the WHY go beyond invoking a positive emotional response.  It allows each employee and customer to derive for themselves the HOW and WHAT of the business — transparency that results in comprehension and trust.  Mike Hobday, an important mentor of mine, explains how important the issue of trust has become to banks.

Let us analyze a favorite WHY statement of mine…




If you communicate the WHY then the organization knows what to do and how to do it, and customers know what to expect.

  • First, the organization needs to understand some things about the customer such as what they want, need and expect; and what kinds of things they find enjoyable.
  • Secondly, the organization needs to understand the customer’s situation and what they are trying to accomplish.
  • Finally, the services provided need to be appropriate for the person, situation and purpose.

All this available to anyone with a great mission statement and a dictionary.

Series Navigation<< Doing Strategy: What’s in a Strategy?Are “Guiding Principles” the same as a “Strategy”? >>

2 thoughts on “Strategy: Starting with Why

  1. Pingback: Why this blog? | Alan Street

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