Why It Pays to Discover Your Company’s “Why”

Monday, November 15th, 2021



Struggling to connect with prospects and motivate employees? The problem may be a lack of clarity on your organization’s “why.”

Struggling to connect with prospects and motivate employees? The problem may be a lack of clarity on your organization’s “why.”

DefenseStorm went on this journey recently. We learned that uncovering and utilizing our why was just the thing to boost employee morale and gain a competitive advantage. Here’s our story.

An Aha Moment

For me, it all started when a prospect said, “I see the value, but …”

I knew immediately this exchange meant the person didn’t understand DefenseStorm’s differentiators—and I had to change that and provide clarity to make the sale and achieve our quarterly goals.

At the time, I was also working with inherited company vision and mission statements that felt flat, particularly after events of 2020. Additionally, I was exploring how to land top engineering talent in a competitive market. When Simon Sinek’s “how to discover your why” TED Talk showed up in my LinkedIn feed, I knew this was the catalyst I’d been looking for.

Sinek’s statements resonated with me: People don’t buy what you do; they buy how you do it. Most companies have no idea why their customers are their customers. And if that’s true, they also don’t know why their employees are their employees.

It was time for a new approach.

A Group Discovery

Invigorated by what I’d learned, I gathered my executive team and set out to find DefenseStorm’s why. While outside facilitation can be helpful, I decided to try my hand at leading the process using the tools from Sinek’s book, “Find Your Why.”

I reiterated to the team that a why is discovered, not invented and this was not a branding exercise. The why should also be current—it’s about who we are when we’re at our best, not who we hope to be someday.

After spending time discovering their own whys, the group reconvened to discuss the company’s why, a process I’ll honestly describe as a struggle. Armed with whiteboards and notepads, we combed through our wins and areas of pride to uncover our why. And when we finally found it—”to build a community of trust”—there was initial skepticism that maybe it was too simple.

But as we started to use our new why and apply it across the company, DefenseStorm employees took to it. I remember hearing my sales team naturally incorporate it into pitches and watching other colleagues seek out ways to use it. One DefenseStorm employee used a 3D printer to create a small token that symbolized building a community of trust. People started recognizing colleagues who should receive the token, with recipients proudly displaying it in their workspaces. An internal survey validated my observations by revealing the new why resonated with 78% of DefenseStorm employees.

The external value was there, too. I knew we’d made an impact when I heard prospects start to use the language, a sure sign it was resonating with them. And those quarterly sales numbers? I’m proud to say they’re right on track.

The process of finding your why is definitely a journey, but one with the potential for big ROI. It was way more valuable than I ever thought it would be.

Ready to find your own why?

Here are my key learnings:

  • Use the why immediately.
  • Call it out when role modeled or recognized.
  • Reinforce it over and over.
  • Start top-down, then encourage peer to peer.
  • Discuss challenges openly.
Steve Soukup

Steve Soukup

Chief Executive Officer

Steve Soukup has served as Chief Executive Officer since 2020 and in that role is responsible for leading all aspects of the company’s business. He is passionate about building a community of trust among our teams and with our customers while also enabling our customers to do the same with their accountholders. Steve joined us as Chief Revenue Officer in May 2017 with a charge to drive growth for the business while leveraging his extensive experience serving the banking vertical. He was promoted to President in October 2019 and then to CEO in April of 2020. Under his leadership, DefenseStorm has set the standard for enabling banks and credit unions to achieve cyber risk readiness.

Steve has built world class customer-focused sales teams that have delivered double-digit year-over-year profitable revenue growth in fast paced and competitive environments. His background includes shaping a 100+ sales organization at e-banking leader Q2 to deliver 30% year-over-year revenue growth, as well as leadership positions at Intuit, S1 Corporation and KPN. Steve also has direct banking experience through management positions at Key Bank, BankBoston and State Street Bank. Steve is a graduate of Boston College and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Boston University. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Steve and his family have called the Atlanta area home for over 10 years.