Great communicators give you a “why”. “Why” helps makes a difference in what follows. In the absence of understanding why, one naturally draws a conclusion. We need and demand answers to the “why” in our lives. The process began for me, like many others, when I was young. I wanted, demanded to know “why”. Why are we going out today? Why now? Why take the pick-up instead of the car? Why? Every answer gave birth to another why question.
Our team was working on implementing a system to measure any and everything that we did. Our plan called for the measurements to be available online. Anyone that had an interest would be able to see them. Employees, supervisors, managers, business partners, sales, and even select customers would be given insight into their activity. The detail was incredible – multiple views, from high level landscapes to transactions and where they were in the operational lifecycle. Everyone would be able to see everything!
We were moving from a limited, long delayed reporting environment to full transparency! It was exciting and scary at the same time. While we had early indicators, who knew what we were going to see in the future? We anticipated but did not appreciate the “why” questions that followed. Specifically, employees wanted to know “why” their actions were available to everyone. While ok with the good stuff, mistakes, errors, and mess-ups were off limits!
As we wrestled with the why question, a theme emerged which laid the foundation for my view of management and leadership. We wanted to be transparent because we cared. We wanted to reward those that were the best. We wanted to help those that were struggling. If someone needed education, we would provide it. If the facts suggested a different assignment, we would move people to the right opportunity. If individuals wanted out, we would help them with the next steps.
In short, we cared. David reminds me that God cares; “He has shaped each person in turn; now he watches everything we do.” (Psalm 33.15) Knowing the why makes a difference.