Find your why

Understanding our personal ‘why’ creates clarity around the impact we seek.

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Assess context

Time 45-60 minutes
Participants Individual or with team
Difficulty Moderate
Materials Pens, notebook

By practising to communicate our ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ we can become better at bringing others along with us.

Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question 'Why?'. In this task, we'll be using Sinek's 'Golden Circle' approach to reflect on your own personal 'why'.



Watch Simon Sinek's video (19 minutes) about how great leaders inspire action:

Golden Circle 1

Take out a sheet of paper and sketch out the ‘Golden Circle’ described in the film. Set a timer for 10 minutes to quickly complete steps 3-5 below.


Start with formulating your ‘why’. The ‘why’ is a purpose, cause or belief. Very few people know WHY they do what they do. Think about: What motivates you? Why do you work in the social sector? What gets you up in the morning? What makes you angry/happy/excited?

How’ - This is how you fulfil that core belief. These are the things you do that make you unique and sets you apart from your peers. Think about: How do you approach life? What are the 3 words people would use to describe you?

'What ‘ - This is what you do to fulfil that core belief. Think about: What is your function? The skills that you offer? The activities that you carry out?


It’s now time to think about the 'why, how and what' of your organisation. If you're not involved with a specific organisation, you can apply the questions to an organisation you know well or a social cause you care about.

Take 10 minutes to do the 'Golden Circle' exercise for your chosen organisation. These questions might help you:

  • 'Why' does your organisation exist? What change do you want to see? Why should anyone care? Why do you care?
  • 'How' do you (or your organisation) achieve the change you want to see? Do you have a theory of change (a Theory of Change is essentially a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context)? A particular approach that your organisation uses?
  • 'What' are the services you offer and/or the issues you campaign on?

Reflect on how you as a leader, can work to fulfil the 'why' by influencing the 'how' and the 'what'? You may want to refer back to Simon Sinek's talk.

Facilitator notes

Once having filled out your personal ‘Golden Circle’, consider recording a short 60-90 second long video of yourself explaining your ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ to the camera.

Although recording ourselves might feel very uncomfortable, it’s really good to practice articulating our ‘why’ and develop our ‘Inspirational Communication’ skills.

Watch back and reflect on how you are received. Maybe next time ask a friend to give you feedback as you practice.


This exercise has been developed by the Clore Social team around the model presented in Simon Sinek’s TED Talk.
Simon Sinek’s TED Talk:
Definition of a Theory of Change:


Finding your why by Matthieu
Case Study

Finding your why by Matthieu

  • Context
Stakeholder Mapping
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Stakeholder Mapping

Stakeholder mapping allows you to take an empathetic view of where they come from and how to best engage them.

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