When to focus on the why

“When the stakes are high, focus on the why.” 

It’s a line from my Future of Leadership Keynote. If you are contemplating big changes like reducing hours, WFH arrangements, or benefits changes for your people in response to COVID-19, then prepare to spend more time talking about the why.

Hint: The why is not simply, “because coronavirus.”

The why in this case should reference a larger plan, the assumptions that go into that plan, what options have already been thought of, and a path forward among other things.

Expect frustration. Expect fear. Heightened emotions tend to be focused into a laser beam of attention. People will be listening closely to what you say and how you say it. They will be looking for any mismatch between words and actions. You don’t have to be perfect but you do have to be willing to spend more time talking about the why.

When the stakes are high (and they are!), focus on the why.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on March 24, 2020

You Might Also Like…

The sound of your work eulogy

What would your work eulogy sound like? Maybe that opener sounds a bit morbid. The idea isn't about dying, it's about...

The 737-MAX has a trust problem

The 737-MAX is back in action! Now, if you had to board one tonight how you feel? Would it soothe you to know that the...

How gracious can you be?

How gracious can you be? That email with just enough snark. The person who is 10 minutes late to your virtual meeting....

A-Players consistently invest in themselves. Take the next step.