The “Why?” Question!
Recent studies reviewing the efficiency of strategic planning sessions have revealed that a significant number of companies never reach their strategic goals. Some of this is due to action plans not being implemented, but it has become clear that when the “Why?” question is left out of planning sessions it becomes difficult for the implementing team to do their job.
In answering the “Why?” question the planning team are pushed towards reviewing the tangible benefits that will be derived from the effective implementation of the concepts. This makes it easier for those involved operationally to give buy in to the direction. When the “Why?” question is not addressed the benefit statement is not always revealed and so those on the ground find it difficult to prioritise or even see the reason behind the goal and are therefore less inclined to implement.
Asking the “Why?” question in strategic planning sessions can also produce some unexpected outcomes. People that sit in these meetings may have a clear vision for what they believe should be the next company direction, but when they interrogate the “Why?” question find that a clear benefit statement cannot be made. This allows for the team to review their thinking and bring forward more practical and achievable strategic goals.
So, why don’t we ask “Why?”, as it would appear to be the obvious thing to do? Mostly because when we see a direction that we believe is the correct path to take, we don’t want to find that we need to go back to the beginning and start the thinking process again to refine the goal!
The positive outcome, however, is that at the end of a strategic session where the “Why?” question becomes the norm, a set of goals will have been achieved which the entire team can understand and follow, so implementation is never under threat.
Do you ask “Why?” often enough?
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