“The job of a CEO is often to come up with a story that enough people believe that you can make something happen in the world.”
Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack
Source: Masters of Scale Podcast
Often we see the success or failure of a startup or company and we think it is due to a bad product or bad management or maybe even bad circumstances.
What if, instead, it all comes down to one thing: the story the leader is telling people to get them motivated? If that story is compelling enough, the top talent will join the company, the best investors will get involved, loyal customers will flock to the product, etc.
Simon Sinek calls it the “why.” It’s the focus that a CEO has to put on the story about what the company stands for, what they believe.
Stewart Butterfield convinced engineers and investors early on that Slack, the messaging platform, was something so new and different that it had the potential to be huge.
One of the first lessons they had to learn in their new iteration of the company, though, was what story would resonate the most with potential customers to convince them to switch from whatever they were using before to a new product.
Butterfield says finding that story should be the primary focus of every startup in the early days.
Once you have a story that people believe in, then you have potential for product that will spread rapidly.
That’s exactly what happened to Slack, which became the fastest growing app of all time.