handwritten why

Knowing the “Why” is a Great Motivator

Few things are more frustrating for a leader than seeing a plan, a project, or an overarching vision sputter because your team just doesn’t seem to be inspired by it. You know the effort is worthwhile, and you’ve clearly communicated to your team what they need to do to accomplish it, but it goes nowhere.

The problem may be that you have emphasized the “what” in your communication, but have neglected to highlight the “why.”

I find in many organizations, among the many leaders we deal with, that they spend a lot of time talking about what they want to do, but not nearly enough time talking about why it’s important to do it. The result for them is disappointment because the people they expected to grab hold of the concept and run with it aren’t doing much beyond standing still.

It may be a straightforward initiative, such as a technology rollout. Or a departmental reorganization that will streamline your company. Or even a major rebranding of your company in order to pursue new markets. Too often a leader emphasizes the steps involved to get from here to there, but doesn’t explain what is driving the change. And since people are typically resistant to change, the why behind that change becomes a critical element.

Talking about the why provides a purpose. It is a motivator. Your people do want to be part of something that is bigger than themselves, something that gives their work life a greater purpose. You can harness that by making it clear why they are working toward your objective.

Armed with that motivation, they are eager to tap into their God-given strengths and abilities to help you and your company achieve the objective. They may even come up with new ideas to build on and support the plan.

Starting today, try to saturate your communication with the “why” behind the things your team is working on. Odds are that you will see things being accomplished not only faster, but with the enthusiasm you want them to demonstrate.

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