January 26

In his bookHow the Mighty Fall, Jim Collins shared some of the key indicators that a company is in decline. One of the early signs is that there is a disconnect between what happens every day inside the organization andwhyit happens. Team members understand what works, but they may not truly understand why it works. This means that when circumstances change, they may not be able to adapt their tactics to meet the new challenge. Instead, they continue to use old tactics to meet new problems.

For this reason, I believe it’s important to have regular “why chats” with your team. These are conversations about why certain decisions are being made, why certain systems are in place, and why certain tactics seem to work. Whenever a big decision is made, whether on a project or with regard to the organization, engaging in a short conversation aboutwhywill help bring alignment and understanding instead of simple compliance.

The same principle applies to those who work with clients. Rather than simply making a recommendation, help them understand why that recommendation is likely to work. Invite them into a conversation about the why behind the what.

Don’t allow a gap to emerge between why and what. Keeping them closely aligned will help you avoid inevitable pitfalls and misalignments.

Always ensure that there is a clear understanding of the why behind the what.

Is there any why/what gap in your work that needs to be closed?

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