“Why?” I’m told it’s a child’s favorite question to ask. My friends who are parents often seem frustrated when their young children won’t stop asking “Why?” over and over. No doubt answering why they should eat their vegetables or put away their toys gets old, particularly when each answer is greeted with yet another “Why?”
Toddlers and toys and vegetables aside, “Why?” is the reason we do what we do and the reason our organizations exist, yet so many of us cannot answer that simple question, at least not in a clear and compelling manner. Instead, we fall back to “What” we do or “How” we do the things we do. Or worse, we assume everyone knows. One executive I was coaching responded to the “Why” question with, “Isn’t it obvious?” Sadly, no it wasn’t. If we can’t tell our story, how do we expect anyone else to be able to?
I believe it’s a fair assumption that the people on your team know “What” they’re supposed to do and “How” they’re supposed to do it, yet how many truly know the “Why” behind it? People won’t fully buy into a task, idea, product, service, or change until they understand the “Why” driving it. Take a tip from a toddler and ask “Why?” a few times. Don’t settle for the easy answer on the surface. Dig down a few layers and find the true meaning to which others will say “Wow.” It’s been said that if your “Why” doesn’t make you cry, it isn’t big enough.
Effective leaders not only know the “Why,” they can communicate it in such a way as to engage and inspire others. What would be different in your work environment if you and your team brought the “Why” to the fore?
Please message me to let me know how it goes.