Strategy development using Sinek’s Golden Circle

By David Newby (Copyright 2020)

There is clearly a need in organisations to establish a broad strategic framework that everyone identifies with and which can guide strategic decision making going forward. In his book “Start with Why” (2009) Simon Sinek developed the Golden Circle Model that helps us understand our strategic task. 

If we take this model and expand on it a little further to inform the strategic thinking and planning needed by organisations then it looks something like this:

As we answer these questions we begin to articulate our strategic framework. We do not answer them by brainstorming good ideas but rather through an evidence-based approach that is informed, by amongst other things, our own story, lessons we have learned, our own competencies, contextual realities and international trends. Often people resist changes to practices or programmatic interventions because they fear that the “why” of the organisation is going to be compromised. In organisations we often hear people bemoaning the fact that their organisation is losing its soul or that it is becoming a business. If we can help people to understand that the “Why” (and sometimes the “How”) are core and that all we are doing is changing the “What” and the “Practices” it helps to allay fears. Equally sometimes organisations forget the “Why” that should be driving them and move off on tangents – often in pursuit of funding opportunities. A strategy exercise that helps everyone to reflect on Sinek’s key questions can get organisations back on track and free up space to consider the changes to programmes and practices that may be needed.


Sinek, Simon. 2009. Start with why. London: Penguin