Why is such an important world for our organization. Before any event, training session, message, or worship set our team wants to ask WHY? Why guides, clarifies, and when answered brings confidence. For some reason many organizations never ask the why question and when they do and hear truth they get mad and continue to do the same thing they have always done. Asking why sometimes leads us to protect the vision and strategy and sometimes drives us to make drastic changes. One of my favorite bloggers is Seth Godin. Seth’s blog is the only blog I get emailed to me daily. The rest of what I read is on my Google reader account. Here is what Seth had to say today about asking WHY…
Successful organizations spend a lot of time saying, “that’s not what we do.”
It’s a requirement, because if you do everything, in every way, you’re sunk. You got to where you are by standing for something, by approaching markets and situations in a certain way. Sure, Nike could make money in the short run by licensing their name to a line of wines and spirits, but that’s not what they do.
“That’s not what we do,” is the backbone of strategy, it determines who you are and where you’re going.
Except in times of change. Except when opportunities come along. Except when people in the organization forget to ask, “why?”
If the only reason you don’t do something is because you never did, that’s not a good reason. If the environment has changed dramatically and you are feeling pain because of it, this is a great reason to question yourself, to ask why.
The why factor is really clear online. Simon and Schuster or the Encyclopedia Britannica could have become Google (organizing the world’s information) but they didn’t build a search engine because that’s not what they do. Struggling newspapers could have become thriving networks of long tail content, but they chose not to, because that’s not what they do.
That’s the key question, one that organizations large and small need to ask a lot more often now that the economy is officially playing by new rules.