Zoho’s leaders kept asking themselves one question: Why?

 

Following a philosophy similar to the one outlined in Simon Sinek’s global bestseller, Start with Why, Zoho has gained success by staying true to its purpose rather than focusing solely on profit. Sinek’s novel, which has remained wildly popular for more than a decade, considers why some companies are more pioneering and successful than others, and why they are able to repeat their success again and again. The simple answer is: “Because in business it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it.”

Start with your why

It is a common practice for companies to measure success by traditional capital growth. At Zoho, we have embraced a broader understanding of capital. Directly put, Zoho sells business software. However, this is not what drives us as an organization. As stated by our CEO, Sridhar Vembu, “Zoho embraces an expansive definition of corporate capital that extends far beyond our balance sheets and asset ledgers”. Zoho’s true capital includes the shared culture, skills, and dedication of the people who make up our organization.

To run a successful company, it is important not to get stuck on your core business, as this is not what inspires people. Your cause and culture inspire loyalty, and as Sinek suggests, “inspired employees make for stronger companies and stronger economies.” At Zoho, we make sure our values are sewn into the fabric of our entire company.

Define your purpose

In the spirit of partnership and for the goal of long-term mutual success for both our company and customers, we aim to keep our products affordable.

“If our users thrive, so will we,” Vembu says. “If they grow, we will too. When decency is more important than profits, it shows—in your company culture, in your customer relations, and in how and why you make big decisions.”

Clearly articulate your why

As a business owner, do you truly know why your customers choose your brand? And why do your employees work for you? If these answers aren’t clear, it’s time to re-evaluate your business’s purpose. Many businesses aren’t able to achieve success because they make decisions based on flawed assumptions of what drives their success.

Understand the human brain

Customers

It is important to remember that people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Customers purchase our software over competitors’ because we are different. We bring a human touch—a real connection within an online world. We build relationships with our customers and employees to the extent that they become members of the Zoho family. They become a part of something bigger than the technology itself. We all form an integrated ecosystem that boosts economies worldwide. Aligning with Sinek’s philosophy, looking at it from a biological perspective and based on the evolution of human behavior, people are drawn to organizations that make them feel like they belong. If you want to gain loyal, lifelong customers, you need to win hearts before minds. And that’s why you need to start with your why.

Employees

Research shows that people who come to work with a clear sense of purpose are less prone to giving up after failures, because the overall mission motivates them. At Zoho, we are passionate about stretching imaginations, pushing boundaries, and reaching new heights with our products. To achieve breakthroughs within our technology, our employees have to challenge themselves. That means picking themselves up after each mistake and choosing to learn from their failures in order to improve and grow.

As Sinek explains, if employees adopt the same mindset as the organization, they will go the extra mile “to explore, to invent, to innovate, to advance and more importantly, to do so again and again and again.” It is precisely this dedication from our employees that has made Zoho successful.

For more information on the values and convictions that drive our organization, visit: https://www.zoho.com/25/values-convictions/

1 Reply to “Zoho’s leaders kept asking themselves one question: Why?”

  1. Inspiring and insightful. Good to be reminded to reconnect with our own “why” so as to live and make choices daily that ignite our hearts. Thank you.

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