The Power of “Why”


Earlier this week, I wrote about the Importance of the question “Why?” In providing purpose to your team. That sense of purpose drives higher commitment and efforts on the part of the team, leading to better results.

But taking some time to answer “Why?” can do far more than just better results, it can also lead to increased organizational efficiency. Consider our previous example: I was asked to redo part of a project because it was not aesthetically pleasing. The reality is, I completed a task without understanding what the overall reason and desired outcome were. As a result, part of the task had to be redone, creating an inefficient use of time and resources.

But understanding “Why?” can do more than prevent inefficiencies, it can create efficiencies, too. By giving our employees more information, we provide them with the resources to make informed decisions, i.e. correct decisions. And if we empower them to make< those decisions, our leaders have more time to devote to more demanding things. This allows us to better utilize our limited resources and gives our employees a sense of autonomy – a whole other topic for a different day. Allowing your team to make some decisions – and, inevitably have some failures along the way – also allows you to identify natural talent that’s already on the team.

There are really all kinds of reasons to stop and answer, “Why?” Giving purpose, preventing inefficiency, creating efficiency, empowering, learning; these are really just the beginning.