My Thoughts on Starting with the ‘Why’

Why in Tesla’s Business

Where ‘Why’ fits in your business plan

I finished reading ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek on a recent trip to Vancouver, which I only mention because the client who invited me there had a beautiful Tesla Model S sitting in his garage. We went out for a drive, and the thing was spectacular. It was fast, comfortable and a technological powerhouse.

As I was sitting there in a car that could drive itself at 100 km/hr, I couldn’t help but think that car, and Tesla as a company, wouldn’t exist if they hadn’t started with their ‘Why.’

Tesla’s ‘Why’: To change how people view electric cars

Tesla came onto the scene as a car manufacturer in a very stable, well-serviced market, and its competitors were huge, multinational corporations. As a car manufacturer, Tesla was facing stiff competition, but Tesla’s goal wasn’t to become a simple car manufacturer. Elon Musk wanted to change the way people view electric cars to aid the move from polluting, gas-powered cars, to clean, electric cars. And none of the competition could match that why.

Because of that, Tesla stocks are currently sitting at $222.80 USD, about four times as much as the Big 3 combined. Today, those big companies are scrambling to put out fully electric cars as Tesla continues to innovate and inspire car-buyers to go electric. And Tesla’s not stopping with cars either. They’ve created a web of chargers across the U.S. and Canada, household batteries, and roof shingles that operate as solar panels.

Tesla has changed how people think about electric cars in 15 years because it inspired buyers with an engaging why.

Balancing the ‘Why’

But starting with the why is not a silver bullet. Tesla seems to be going through scandal after scandal because Elon regards his ‘why’ so highly that he seems to be willing to go beyond what he should be doing to make sure it comes true, even sacrificing the what and how.

That’s why Simon Sinek warns that the ‘why’ has to be balanced.

Now, it’s great to have a why, and it can be very powerful, but I’ve watched too many people construct a fake ‘why’ out of marketing gibberish that has fallen apart immediately. They did it just so they could be part of a marketing trend. A real why, one that actually leads and affects a business, is powerful. But consumers and clients are very good at picking out fake whys, which takes all the power out of it. So I want to encourage the business people out there, search for your why, but don’t try to build something you don’t stand behind.

Just for curiosity's sake,

For those who have read ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek: How has this book changed your business for the better – or worse!?

For those who haven’t read ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek: Are you intrigued enough to consider reading it? Why or why not?

I would love to hear your answers so please reply below!

The next chapter

That’s enough about ‘Start with Why.’ I really think it’s time to move onto the next book. I was looking through the suggestions, and I’ve settled on ‘Good to Great’, by Jim Collins, which Karina Murphy (thanks Karina!) recommended.

Now, I’ve read this book many times before, in fact, I go over it on a yearly basis, so this won’t be new for me. In fact, Good to Great was one of the books that I credited for helping me win the Young Entrepreneur award for Saskatchewan, – and I’ve been re-reading it ever since! I’m really looking forward to going over this book with all of you, and hopefully gaining some new insight into it.

Alright! Talk soon, everyone, and have a solid, productive Monday!