Scott Hodge


And Here’s Why….

Dec 18, 2007

One of the things we’ve been spending a lot of time coaching our leaders on is the importance of communicating the “WHY" behind the “WHAT.”  Because let’s face it, it’s easy to communicate the “what”, isn’t it?

“When the music begins, do this.” 

“When parents approach the check in stations, do this.” 

Easy!  It’s simply a matter of communicating a specific task.

But communicating the “WHY” behind that task involves great intentionality and is something that is often times easily overlooked. 

So one of the phrases we’ve been teaching our leaders to use is this:

“And here’s why…”

In other words, when you are explaining a task, take it a step further by adding that simple phrase.  For example:

“When the music begins, do this.  And here’s why that is so important….” 

“When parents approach the check in stations, do this.  And here’s why we do that….”

Suddenly, you’ve just moved from being a task master to being a coach.  Does it take more time to explain the "WHY"?  Yep.  Is it easy to forget to do it?  Yep.  But is the payoff HUGE? 

“YESSSSSSSSSS…..” (Spoken Napoleon Dynamite style)

Bottom line?  The WHY is huge and it makes all the difference in the world.  Because now, the value and vision of your organization is being communicated.  Now, you are coaching and helping someone understand your culture.  But perhaps most importantly, now you are raising a leader who will be able to more effectively pour themselves into someone else down the road.

And here’s something else to think about…  Can the “why" behind every task be traced back to the mission of your organization?  If not, then that is probably a clear sign that it’s a task that needs to either go “bye-bye” or at least be redefined.

5 Responses to “And Here’s Why….”

  1. I don’t know who said it but there’s a phrase that goes something like, “The person who knows how to do something will always work for the person who knows why they’re doing it.” That’s to say that people rarely stop to even consider WHY they’re engaged in doing something they’re already doing. Why is this important? Why are we doing this? Those who take the extra time to explain “…and here’s why…” are that much more effective.
    On the flip side, unfortunately, in the absence of hearing the “why,” those who question the why are usually considered to be troublemakers contributing to some form of “disunity.” … “Never mind the man behind the curtain. The Great Oz has spoken!”
    Thank you Scott, for everything you’re teaching about leadership … Someday I’ll actually get to use it. ;o)
    Merry Christmas.

  2. I’ve been thinking of a way to put into words the reason that we always give our customers the WHY behind HOW we do things at Updatable. If we as a design studio just throw a bunch of facts at our clients, there’s little translation happening. However, if we give them a WHY behind a particular function of the websites we build, they begin to see exactly what they can use it for…and it’s usually more than they were hoping for. Thanks for putting it into writing for me. Do you mind if I link to this post from my blog to give you credit for writing what I couldn’t put into words myself?

  3. Rindy says:

    Yes!! By sharing the ‘why’, when issues/problems arise, those who understand the why can make the decisions consistent with the vision. It is empowering and leading. Great thoughts!

  4. Flaviu says:

    Hey Scott-
    dude, totally on board with your stuff. the why’s of what we do and tracing it back to the mission of our organization…so true, so challenging yet freeing to cut out what doesn’t belong in there, takes up resources and basically wastes time.
    thanks for an awesome reminder for me and my team now as we think 2008. you rock dude! stay warm. and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  5. Chris Busch says:

    Great insights, Scott.
    When you take the time and care to explain “why”, it shows that you value the person, recognize that they have leadership potential, and trust them beyond a role as mere cogs in a wheel.

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