a different starting point...

The stakes are high when we undertake significant change and promise improved results. Beyond hard results, opportunity costs and reputations—people's long-term pride, confidence and commitment are also at stake.

Adopting a why–who–how approach multiplies our investment in change—resources are highly focused and commitment levels and results improve dramatically. Involving people in answering 4 big questions builds the individual commitment necessary to deliver breakthrough results—today and well into the future.

Asking why–who–how before deciding what to do

what typically happens...

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?

...let's go!

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) and we believe that with these new tools, people will deliver improved results.

what typically happens is we get busy developing and rolling out (pushing) a long list of initiatives—measuring how well they are being implemented. And then, for many reasons, the initiatives 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

beginning with why...

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?