Posted On February 10, 2017
Simon Sinek is one of my favorite thought leaders, and his TED Talk entitled, “Start with Why”, is my absolute favorite TED Talk of all time. Given my affinity for “Start with Why”, I find it interesting that Jeff & I founded our first company, Flat World Supply Chain, on the idea of “Why Not”.
11 years ago, we both worked for a company that was, at the time, the largest LTL Common Carrier in North America, and we were both up to our eyeballs with the word NO! You see, the company we worked for was a very large, very structured, and very slow to innovate kind of company that many of you have probably are familiar with. You know the ones; those that make decisions based on what the stock analyst might think rather than what their customers want. The kind of company that has achieved the dreaded state of “paralysis by analysis”, and is so bureaucratic that they make decisions the way our federal government makes them, which doesn’t serve the customer or the employees, but rather serves the executives’ wealth managers.
This shared experience between partners, is why we founded our company on “WHY NOT”. In other words, we took the approach that if our customers asked us to provide a certain service, or to change our software to accommodate their needs, then we’d do it.
We built our business based on the idea that we’d allow our customers to lead our direction, so instead of telling our customers what we had for sale, we asked our customer what they wanted to buy. It’s amazing the response you get from potential and existing customers when you let them be in charge of what you do for them. Who wouldn’t want to buy “exactly” what they need, rather than a solution that “kinda” fits the need, but it requires you to adjust your business model to the solution, rather than the other way around.
We have remained stead fast in our “Why Not” attitude over the last 11 years; our current leadership team continues to mentor and teach our new employees about this ideal, and the value we bring to our customers is so much greater for it.
Our goal at Flat World Holdings is to help our customers find a better way to approach their company’s bottlenecks and business challenges, whatever those may be. So the next time someone asks if Flat World can do “X” for them, someone at Flat World will probably be heard saying, why not?