“In order to reach the top you need to know why you want to get there.”

In this Coachcast we review the importance of knowing why we do what we do.

We have to have a clear understanding of why we do what we do or want what we want in order to continue to move towards those things.

As we prepare for 2015 it’s important that we take a look at the reasons why we want to accomplish the things we set out to achieve. When you are planning you goals and improvements we have to look at why we want to do these things not just state that we want to do them.

Understanding the reasons why give us the ability to keep pressing forwards towards our aspirations and keep charging forward in the face of adversity. This is very important as we start to delegate more responsibilities to our teams as well. If you teams understand why we want them to do certain things they will have more commitment towards those tasks.

We talked about setting big picture goals so that we do not limit ourselves  . The next step in creating the right trajectories is asking why we want to achieve these goals. There are two sides to this. The first is asking Why we want to reach this goal. In this part we are asking the question to determine if we set the correct goal. Let’s say you set a goal to do $5M in revenue in 2015. When you ask why you can do some critical thinking to determine if you are setting the right goal. As you dig into why you want to reach $5M in revenue you may find that the answers lead you to a different goal all together. If your fist answer to why is so that you have more profits than you should question if increasing sales will ultimately result in higher profits. Maybe this goal needs to be re-worked and should be something like “I want to achieve a profit margin of 10% or better while continuing to increase my revenues”. Can you see where this is a totally different trajectory that would better achieve what you are looking for? So first we need to ask why so that we can determine if we are setting the right goals.

Now that you have determined that you have the correct goals in mind we need to look at the second Why. This is where we want to understand why this goal is important. Take the example above, the reasons why we want ton increase profit margins could be something like; have a larger cash reserve, receive a bigger year-end bonus, alleviate cashflow strains or allow for more investment into the business. To take this one step further you might realize that all these reasons why lead to a bigger why of decreasing the stress of operating the business. The importance here is to flush out the reasons why that will ultimately motivate you and your team to strive towards those goals.

To make this all happen you need to start with your ideas you have for goals and trajectories and write them down. You should have started on this from some of our previous Coachcasts so this is a continuation of those exercises. Look at each of the things that you have decided to focus on and ask the first why. Make sure that you are working on the right thing before moving to the next step.

Now that you have confirmed each goal or trajectory it’s time to start developing the reasons why. Add the why into the goal statement so that it’s clear each time you review these why you want to work on them. Write this out in detail so that it will remind you every time you start to question what you are doing or your focus starts to stray.

[tweetthis]In order to reach the top you need to know why you want to get there[/tweetthis]

Then share your goals and trajectories with your team and explain the reasons why. Be sure that the reasons also have meaning to them. If the reasons only provide value to you then it’s unlikely that your team will be committed to achieving them.

By the way, this is a huge management tip. When you are delegating and teaching your teams what you expect of them explain the reasons why. People will be more committed to doing a great job if they know why they are asked to do it. This is often overlooked by management and it creates the need for more oversight and micro-management. If people understand why they are doing what they are doing and realize the benefits to them they will naturally work harder at achieving the expected results.

As we move towards developing our plans for making 2015 the best year ever I want you to keep in mind this concept of knowing the reason why. As you develop your plans make sure you also develop the reasons why. You will see a remarkable difference in how you and your team attacks these things by doing this exercise and communicating it.

Take-Action Items:

  1. List each goal or accomplishment that you are planning and ask why to determine you have selected the right trajectory

  2. Review each goal or accomplishment to determine the reason why you want to achieve it and why your team should as well

  3. Share you reasons why with your team

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