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The Celery Test

"Start with why" by Simon Sinek

Mark Schefermann

on 19 April 2013

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Transcript of The Celery Test

Start with WHY In order to improve HOW and What we do, we constantly look to what others are doing. We attend conferences, read books, talk friends and colleagues to get their input and advice, and sometimes we are also the dispensers of advice. We are in pursuit of understanding the best practices of others to help guide us. But it is a flawed assumption that what works for one organisation will work for another. Even if the industries, sizes and market conditions are the same, the notion that "if it's good for them, it's good for us" is simply not true.

It is not just WHAT or HOW you do things that matters, what matters more is WHAT and HOW you do things is consistent with your WHY. Only then will your practices indeed be best. There is nothing inherently wrong with looking to others to learn what they do, the challenge is knowing what practices or advice to follow. Fortunately there is a simple test you can apply to find out exactly WHAT and HOW is right for you. It's a simple metaphor called the CELERY TEST.

So somebody walking past can see, just by looking at your celery and your rice milk, they can look at you and say, “Hey, you’re healthy, you believe in being healthy? Me too. Congratulations, you just attracted a customer, you just attracted a referral, an employee, an article, a blog, buzz.

Somebody says, “Hey, can you give some advice to me?” You just created that sense of cause in somebody else, simply because you said and did the things you actually believe. If you are in any sort of leadership role, or have your own business then I would highly recommend you read this book. Simon Sinek is one of my personal inspirations or "hero's" if you like it terms of how companies should be running their organisations. To find out more about Simon Sinek and his book "Start with WHY" please visit:

http://www.startwithwhy.com/ The CELERY Test It’s as if you go to a dinner party and start discussing business and what has worked for your colleagues and friends within their companies. At this dinner party someone might say to you, “You know what you need in your business? Oreo cookies. If you’re not implementing Oreo cookies in your business, I’m telling you, you’re leaving money on the table.” Somebody else tells you:
“Rice milk. In this economy?
You have to be using rice milk.” Somebody else says to you: “M&Ms. We used M&Ms in our business, and we made millions! Facebook uses M&Ms. You’ve gotta do it.” Somebody else says to you, “Celery. It’s all about celery.”

So what do you do? Which one do you follow? Which item do you buy? It’s all perfectly good advice from perfectly good people with perfectly good evidence. Which products do you buy?

So we go to the supermarket and we buy them all. We buy celery and rice milk and Oreos and M&Ms. You may or may not get value out of all of these products, there’s no guarantee. You spend a lot of time at the supermarket, you spend a lot of money at the supermarket, and worse, when you’re standing in line in the supermarket with all of your products in your arms, your celery, your rice milk, your Oreos, your M&Ms, nobody can see what you believe. Because what you bought didn’t necessarily correspond to anything you believe. Nobody can see what you believe. So people will walk past you and ignore you. Imagine if you knew your WHY Imagine if your WHY was clear. Imagine if your WHY was to always be healthy and only do things that protect the integrity of your body.

You will get all the same advice from all of the exact same smart people. The difference is, when you go to the supermarket, you’re only going to buy celery and rice milk. Those are the only two products that make sense. Right? You’re guaranteed to get value out of those products. You spend less time at the supermarket, you spend less money at the supermarket, so there’s an efficiency play, and when you’re standing in line at the supermarket holding your celery and holding your rice milk, everyone can see what you believe. Authenticity, right? Start with WHY The more you talk about WHY you do what you do, those who work with you, those who work for you, those who work around you all know what you need and what the right decisions are, not because they’re trusting your gut, and not because you laid out some set of criteria. It’s because they know why you do what you do, and there are some decisions that are just obvious. They either make sense, or they don’t.

And that’s the power of Why. It is absolutely scalable. Introducing the Your actions and products are now in sync with your WHY So make sure you always do the CELERY TEST to ensure your actions and marketing campaigns are aligned to your WHY. What works for others might not necessarily work for your company. And... if you don't know what your WHY is, then how is your management team and staff meant to know? To see some of my other posts, visit www.markschefermann.com.
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