We have all been there.  The boss calls you into his or her office, looks you sternly in the eye and says, ‘I want...’  Now this could be an unending list and, unfortunately, in today’s business world it so often is.  Perpetual instructions and requests that we feverishly scribble down as the boss reels off all that the business needs and wants. This is absolutely normal, and in fact it is absolutely fine. No doubt there have been endless hours of board meetings, planning meetings, finance meetings, and so on, to reach this list of infinite requirements. Those in charge will certainly have their reasons, and however strong your natural inclination may be to feel frustrated and put-upon, there is a far more productive way to handle this.

The trick to delivering solutions that align with your company’s goals and ultimately bring the required sustainable success is to understand one simple thing - why?

This is most likely the most powerful word that you possess as an employee.  It’s a word that delivers time and time again and sets us all on the right track. Walking out of that office feeling bamboozled and wondering what on earth it was all about is a mistake.  What am I going to do about it? How am I am going I to manage it?’ This panicky reaction is your first step to failure and signposts a significant missed opportunity. All you really have to do is ask the simple question - why?

Why do you want to implement that initiative? Why do you want to make that change? Why now?

Getting to the root of what is driving a decision needs to be the starting point of any strategy, process and delivery plan. If we do not know why we are doing it, then there is no sense of purpose or direction from the outset and, in fact, no sense of what the outcome needs to be.  Without a target or desired result in place, how can a strategy or plan be implemented to achieve it? There cannot be a route if there is no destination.

long list

And this leads me onto the next most powerful word you have in your arsenal, and one that is inextricably linked.  What?

What are you hoping to achieve by implementing that initiative? What do you envisage is the right solution? What do you want the outcome or results to be? What is the impact if we don’t do this?

Once the why is in place, then the what will provide your destination and in so doing, help you to plan your route and the strategic steps required along the way.  The why and the what will get you half way to achieving your goal - you have a starting and a finishing point, so all you have to do is join the dots. Not as easy as it sounds maybe, but if it was then everyone would be doing it and we would probably not have a job!

Read our next blog, ‘Don’t Be Left Wanting’ to find out how to join the dots!

  Back to articles