Communicating the WHY and WHAT before moving onto the HOW helps create alignment and inspiration. It also helps position you as a strategic thinker.
WHY = Why does this conversation matter? How does it tie to the larger organizational or departmental objectives, needs, or challenges? How does it impact our customers or the world?
WHAT = What are you suggesting and how does this address the WHY?
WHY creates context and alignment by clarifying our assumptions and what we’re talking about. If others have different assumptions or believe our focus should be elsewhere, they can share that upfront. Creating strategy alignment saves time and builds a sense of shared purpose. It helps senior leaders more easily determine where they can add value and where you are adding value.
Starting with WHY and connecting the WHAT is inspiring. A key leadership role is to motivate the team especially when the work feels mundane, tedious, or hard. Clearly connecting efforts to a grander, compelling vision helps create a sense of purpose.
When we go into a conversation with the intention of creating alignment and inspiration, it changes what and how we communicate.
Start by asking yourself:
What is the big objective or need you’re trying to address?
Who does this impact?
What will change when this is addressed and who would benefit?
Then ask yourself a few times: what’s important about that or what larger mission does this support?
If your company hasn’t communicated a grand purpose for how it creates a better world, it doesn’t mean you can’t. How are your company’s products or way of doing business making the world a better place for your customers or communities?
Try to find this for yourself. How is your work benefiting mankind? When I was working in marketing for a large wholesaler, I helped small businesses be more competitive so they could continue to provide employment, benefits, and joy for themselves, employees, and their families.
Want to dig deeper? I’d be happy to speak with you! Also consider Simon Sinek’s TEDx talk Start with why – how great leaders inspire action.