It is the Who Not the why SimonSinek

Start with Why is an excellent book which I have highlighted in my blog post, Does your customer know why you do it? with author’s Simon Sinek Ted appearance. It is a great message and his discussion of the Golden Circle really nails his point. However, it is a little internally focused for me and like so many others it attempts to drive your message home from the inside out. Who is the keyword, not Why.

Why is simply yesteryear. When asking Why we focus on solutions for the customer. There are plenty of people that can solve a customer’s problem. Why is a commodity based approach that does not separate you from the competition. Simon does an excellent job using the Golden Circle to demonstrate how you have to have the passion for “Why” and translating that into the How and the What you are doing. He says that you will find like customers that share the same “Why” passion. However, this philosophy still centers on the fact that there are plenty customers out there. It does not consider the fact that for most, there is a short supply of customers.

An example of Why thinking using a simple purchase such as a new refrigerator: we address the concerns of the customer by asking why we need one, how much do they want to spend and what fits in the hole. If we start with the Who; we center on their lifestyle, who is using it, who will be installing it, who will be removing it, and maybe even who will be paying for it (if we don’t have terms to delay payment till next year). We develop a customer experience that is extended into delivery, warranty and service agreements.

We live in a replenishment society, most of us do not need anything else. We have everything. It is the company that takes the time to understand the customer and their behaviors that enables them to not simply design a solution but centering on the Who to create an outstanding customer experience. If we do that, we end up creating products and services that customers can’t resist and competitors can’t copy.


  1. Externalizes your thought processes
  2. Creates customer centric organization
  3. Enables a spirit of
    • Community
    • Co-operation
    • Co-learning
    • Co-producing
    • Co-creation

Who is the key in developing an obsession to understand the customer and allow us to deliver on customer desires and wants versus just their needs. Average companies deliver on customer needs, above average companies deliver on desires. Which one are you?

Related Information:
Work on demand, ‘It’s the demand side, stupid’
The Death of PDCA
Service Innovation – Rethinking Customer Needs
Why the Lean SALES PDCA Cycle was Created!