The Importance of Why
The answers to the Five W’s are essential to information-gathering. Who, What, When, Where, and Why answers formulate the complete story on a subject. In our work, Success Trek has noticed the absence of Why and when it is missing, confusion, frustration, discontent, and other unpleasant results follow.
How frequently do new or current team members ask, “Why?”
Just as important is how many leaders support and encourage the question?
When leaders are not receptive, the team member is forced into “do” mode – performing the task as instructed without question. Even receptive leaders whose team members do not question may be missing out on the benefits of a thorough understanding.
Leaders who support the dialog on why and team members who ask why can reap many benefits, including:
- Overall transparency. When team members understand why a task is necessary, it eliminates uncertainty and they are more likely to be engaged with their job.
- Ownership of assigned tasks. Team members who understand that their performance impacts others are more likely to ensure tasks are done correctly and on time.
- Transfer of learning. When team members understand the concepts behind specific tasks, they can apply that strategy to a new situation.
- Uncovering opportunities for improvement. As we’ve stated before, the most dangerous phrase in business is, “We’ve always done it this way.” Asking why often opens the doors to opportunities for improvement.
Within our own business, Success Trek has experienced the importance of why. With recent shifts in team member roles and responsibilities, why was asked frequently to gain clarity on specific tasks. Key comments include:
- Questions are always acceptable and time is given for a full explanation.
- Through this background knowledge, I can provide the appropriate action when handing off a task to the next person.
- The general background knowledge allows me to apply concepts to new situations effectively.
- Different perspectives create opportunities for change.
Through leadership support of the dialog, team member job satisfaction continues at a high level. We are working more cohesively as a team, can transfer concepts across all levels of the business, and have uncovered improved methods of doing tasks.
How can we help?
If you or your team need help to identify obstacles and challenges in your workplace situation, contact Theresa, or visit our Contact Us page to schedule a 30-minute Complimentary Conversation. Reaching a goal is a journey, and Success Trek is here to work alongside you.