Start With Why

I am admittedly a big fan of Simon Sinek.  If you have not heard of him I strongly suggest heading to Google and finding a Ted Talk and get acquainted with him.

His premise is that the most powerful question we can ask ourselves is Why.  He also maintains that before heading off in a certain direction it is smart to Start with Why.  If we cannot adequately answer the question perhaps the effort being contemplated should not be started?  

Think of the efficiency gains if that effort of going in a direction we shouldn't is saved for areas we should.

Sounds simple....well not as simple as what you might want.  It may take a few times asking Why before you reach a go/no-go conclusion.  Asking Why just once usually reveals a very simplistic answer.  

Ex. "Why are we going to introduce a new product line?" OR "Why are we increasing service level X?"  Answers on the first pass might include "We feel our customers would support the new line?  OR "We believe citizens want this increase."

If one were to proceed with only this initial answer and reasoning we might miss the following if we were to ask Why of the first responses.

Ex. "Why do we feel our customers would support the new line?"  might reveal the answer "Our competitor has had success with this new line."  Which leads to the next Why.

Ex. "Why has our competitor had success with the new line?"  might reveal the answer "Our competitor has an exclusive contract with celebrity Y to assist in the creation of and marketing of the new line."

You will see that new variables come into play when deciding whether to proceed with the new line.  Can we secure another celebrity to support our line?  Is there enough demand