Workshop Exercises: Define

Golden Circle

Understand why you are in business - that is what people buy

Illustration of Golden Circle
Run a Golden Circle play

Also called: Why, How, What

Timing: Discovery

Origin: Simon Sinek

Prep time
10 minutes

Run time
60 minutes

Group size

Why: Clarify your purpose and distinctiveness and foster alignment, consistency, and direction

When: It is relevant as you start a new venture, revisit company mission, or when team needs to be aligned

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

Reserve your deck!

Instructions for running this play

  1. Set up. Draw three concentric circles on a board, labeled “what”, “how”, and “why”.
  2. Populate the circles. Participants Silent Storm answers for 5 minutes the following questions
    • What does your company do?
      • What products & services do you produce?
      • What is your concrete offering to the world?
    • How does your company do it?
      • What differentiates you from others?
      • What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
      • Which values & principles guide your actions?
    • Why does your company do it?
      • What is your purpose?
      • What is your core belief?
      • What change do you want to bring?
  3. Playback. Each person reads their answers aloud. Facilitator records these inside the corresponding circles.
  4. Vote. Participants Note and Vote on their favorite answers. One by one, participants share their answers one by one. Facilitator marks these in the circles.
  5. Discussion. Engage in a 5-minute discussion for ‘what’ and ‘how’, followed by a 10-minute discussion for ‘why’.
  6. The Decider, often a senior leader or a project owner, picks the final answer for each circle.

Tips to perfect this play

Master and adapt the play to fit your context and needs.

Tip: Backwards Golden Circle

Start with the 'why' and work in reverse order to emphasize the importance of the core belief or cause behind what you do and ensure that your 'how' and 'what' are consistent with your central mission.

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