What’s the celery test?

It’s called the celery test, and it was described (memorably, if poorly) by Simon Sinek.

The analogy is this ;  you go to a dinner party and someone says 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.  The next person you meet 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.”

Wanting to improve your business, 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 and perfectly good motives. Which products do you buy?

You go to the supermarket and buy them all, figuring out if we do them all then something will work. 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.  People will walk past you and ignore you. Imagine if you knew your Why.

Imagine if your Why was clear- “be healthy”.

You will get all the same advice from all of the exact same smart people. But now there’s a difference; when you listen to them, and then go to the supermarket, you’re only going to buy celery (and rice milk). Those are the only two products that make sense to being healthy, your WHY.  You’re guaranteed to get value out of those products. You spend less time and 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.  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 else says, “Hey, can you give some advice to me on how to be healthy?” You just created that sense of cause in somebody else, simply because you said and did the things you actually believe.

Here’s the best part: as soon as I said the Why, before I even said we’re going to buy celery and rice milk only, as soon as I said the Why “to be healthy,” every single person listening to this knew we were only going to buy celery and rice milk before I said it. That’s called “scale.”

OK, that’s the lesson, simplified, if you know the WHY of your business, it makes everything work more efficiently and more effectively internally. And if you are able to effectively communicate your WHY, you’ll attract likeminded customers too. Knowing and communicating your WHY is a great business decision.

The more you talk about why you do what you do, to those who work with you, to those who work for you, to those who work around you all know what you need and what the right decisions are, not because they’re trusting your gut or their gut, and not because you laid out some detailed 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 provides CLARITY. It is absolutely scalable.

Now, why celery- well its both memorable and short-hand for healthy, so it works, that’s why!