The ‘Celery Test’ is a simple way from Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start With Why‘ to help you make better decisions by understand the purpose behind them.
Behind the idea is the premise that what you do should serve as tangible proof of what you believe in.
Simon Sinek explains better than I can summarise but for brevity:
At a dinner party, someone tells you your business needs more Oreos. Someone else tells you the data shows your business needs rice milk. Another person recommends M&Ms. And another person recommends celery. The advice comes from successful, well respected people so the next time you are at the supermarket, you buy all these things. You spend a lot of money buying everything because you want to be successful. If someone looked in your basket and saw M&Ms, Oreos, rice milk and celery, they would not know what you believed.
But what if you knew your Why before you went into the supermarket? If your Why was to eat healthily, you would only have picked up the celery and rice milk. Your Why would have been super clear to anyone looking in your basket. You would have spent less money and less time in the supermarket. You would have got value from everything you bought. It’s not that the other advice isn’t good advice; it’s just not good for you.
Ensuring WHAT you do proves what you believe makes it easy for those who share the same beliefs to find you. You have successfully communicated your WHY based on WHAT you do.
A Why provides a clear filter for decision making. Any decisions should pass the celery test. When a business clearly communicates it’s Why to customers and staff, any individual in that business can make a clear and accurate decision as the founder.
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.