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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Karavattuveetil

“But, why?”

For many summers, I was privileged to have the assistance of an Intern, as I led the HR department of a local healthcare system. At the end of one such summer, my intern gave me this poster he designed with the corresponding phrase, “But, why?” He said that the greatest summer learning points were in the power of questions and the importance of knowing why as critical for relationship and employee engagement.

Questions necessitate a response. It provides an opportunity for the individual to think and the questioner to stop talking and listen to understand. Unfortunately, society in general seems to be moving in the opposite direction. What this means for you is a chance to improve your market competitiveness by increasing your thinking and listening. Remember, the rarer something is, the greater the value.

Equally important as the question is the answer to, “But, why?” Humans are naturally built to learn. We are attracted to and are more committed to individuals and efforts where we understand and are aligned with the communicated values and purpose. The greater the alignment, the greater the commitment and corresponding effort. It is foolish to believe that individuals will deliver 100% effort because they get paid to do so or are in a dependent position. People may play along for the short-term, but if you do not proactively connect requested actions to larger purpose, you will pay for it in the long run in wasted time and energy.

When I was a kid, I did not like being told, “because I told you so.” I still don’t! Improve the chances of people willingly giving 100% of themselves by clearly communicating the answers to, “But, why?" Always remember, many times a well thought out and appropriately phrased question, along with a true desire to listen and understand, is much more powerful than a solution or answer. Do your part in helping others flip on the thought switch!

Enjoy the journey!


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