The Benefits of Asking Why
Last week at the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Summit, Josh Linkner, venture capitalist and entrepreneur, spent the morning invigorating up-and-coming change makers by challenging them to ask why. Today, Business Insider is touting Simon Sinek’s mantra ‘start with why.’ It is hard to disagree that the message is powerful, but what does asking why and looking deeper really mean?
Leaders can and should use this advice in two scenarios. First, during strategic planning it is imperative to understand what dilemmas or opportunities led to the current state. Asking why is the basis of Root Cause Analysis. The Analyze phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology, allows for exploration of all probable sources to facilitate the identification of a single defect or prospect. This allows for one to mitigate negative consequences or to ensure success. The second scenario where starting with why becomes essential is getting employees bought in and engaged. Desire is an essential step in the ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) goal-oriented change management model. Starting with why provides more opportunities to build desire in employees. When employees are engaged they are less likely to engage in resistance or counterproductive workplace behaviors.