a different starting point...
The stakes are high when we promise big change and significantly improved results. Beyond hard results and reputations—people's long-term pride, confidence and commitment are also at stake. Second chances are incredibly difficult to orchestrate.
Answering why, who and how before deciding what to do provides the focus and inspiration people need and want. Asking people to answer these 4 big questions in everything they do delivers breakthrough results—today and well into the future.
asking why–who–how before deciding what to do
Change efforts typically begin with what questions—
what do we need to do?
what do we want to do?
what can we do?
what should we do?
Answering what questions drives action—and activity is positive. Unfortunately, several messy problems can arise with this approach—people are busy but they are moving in different directions, resources are diverted into endless initiatives that have questionable benefits, and early momentum washes away as old habits resurface.
Consider this common what approach—we decide to give people new tools (communications, plans, budgets, investment capital, financial incentives, reports, training, procedures, equipment, software, etcetera) and we believe that with these new tools, they will deliver improved results.
what typically happens is we get busy developing and rolling out (pushing) a long list of initiatives and tools—measuring how well they are being implemented. And then, for many reasons, they don't quite deliver the improvements we promised. This is because people commit to implement an initiative rather than delivering improved results—and, because we never asked them what support they need to deliver improved results.
4 big questions for leading change
Successful change begins with why questions—
and the best why answers inspire action.
When people know why we are heading a certain direction, and how we will measure success—they instinctively know what they can do to help, how to get started, and how to continuously fine-tune their approach. This behaviour builds momentum and sustains change over the long-term.
Involving the right people means that we need to ask who questions—who needs to do something differently to deliver the results we want? And... who are the key influencers that will help others support the change?
Involving people in shaping how the new direction will unfold builds alignment and commitment.
How might a why–who–how approach help your organisation improve? What would it take to try it?