Leadership – Why, Why Matters

John Burroughes of Trinity Business Coaching shared this video clip with me and it strikes me that it has huge implications for managers.

If good management is about great planning, effective organisation, inspiring leadership and efficient control, this video clip goes to the heart of what constitutes the leadership element of really great management.  There is also a link to the planning element as a good why probably will emerge from an effective strategy.

The clip is at the link below:


Now you have watched the clip ask yourself:

  1. Do my people truly understand why we do what we do?
  2. Can your staff make a connection between their day-to-day activities and your organisation’s why?
  3. Can customer leadership be improved (in other words can they be more inspired by your products and services)?
  4. Do your staff just have jobs or do they have a sense of purpose and mission?
  5. Does your strategy (plan for winning) address this central why question?
  6. If your why is unclear or opaque, what impact does that have on motivation?

Why is why difficult for some organisations and some managers?  Operational pressures may focus attention on getting things done.  The why may have been lost as the organisation grew and expanded.  Short term business results may have taken precedence over “nice” things like why we do what we do.  Cynicism may abound to the extent that difficult why questions just are not seen as important.  Internal politics and power plays may have diverted attention away from meta questions like why.  Perhaps being mediocre and average have become accepted ways of operating.  Bureaucracies have a way of reducing work down into meaningless tasks where the objective of the work has long been lost to micro management madness.

There is a strong link between this video clip and books like Lafley’s and Martin’s Playing to Win, Collins Good to Great and Leahy’s Management in 10 Words.  Strong purpose can move mountains, so getting this why thing “right” is important.

Strategy is really difficult as is perhaps explained by the fact that it is done so badly in many organisations.  Having the courage to be crystal clear about why we do what we do is not for the faint hearted.

So if you want to give your management approach a boost, why not consider if the why we do what we do issue could be made more clear.  If a clear why makes your life easier as a manager why not make it clear for staff and customers?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s