Focus Communication on the “Why”


One of my RSS feeds is come from  Kevin Eikenberry Group around leadership. Kevin’s post on What to Communicate – got me to thinking. Kevin’s very simple rule of thumb is “Communicate why before how, and don’t switch too soon.”

He goes on to say that most organizations and teams the ‘why’ is missing. When the why is strong enough, the how will be figured out.

For me – I need to know the ‘why’ and understood the implications of the ‘why’ in order to truly follow. This applies for both work and outside.  As a mid level manager – I have to then take the why and apply it to my team.  When I was active with the Hockey league, I still needed to understand the why certain decisions or policies were made. Without that understanding of the ‘why’ – it is hard for my to do my job of leading my team(s). I have at times, made up my own ‘why’ but when you try to tie that ‘why’ to the overall organizations direction – it becomes somewhat difficult to understand how we all fit in.

When I think back over the years, I have seen plenty of times that the ‘how’ has been the focal point. Just last year – I thought we in IT spent way too much time on the ‘how’ to get stuff done. At times, I still feel that way. A framework of how is okay – but when the how becomes the focal point – then we have lost sight of the vision.  We have to ask ourselves some basic questions:

  • Are we acting on what matters?
  • Are we acting on what’s worth doing?
  • Are we giving priority to what matters?


If we truly empower our teams, the how will happen and the results will be the best that they can.