When was the last time you said, “Why are we doing this?”

Depending on the industry, the organization or the culture within an area, this can be a very risky question to ask.

There are many potential answers:

  • Because this is in the big plan.
  • Because someone above deemed it important.
  • This is none of your business.
  • We have no options.
  • Why would you even ask that?

And most of these answers can turn out to be demoralizing, disappointing, confusing, revealing and more.  How many of us have the nerve to ask such a question?

Many moons ago, the typical project manager was asked to deliver on time, on budget and within scope. Everything else would take care of itself.  Fast forward to a new economy and a new project environment, and we are looking for more. 

Today’s project managers need to be empowered to ask ‘WHY?’.  Why are we doing this?  How does this work into the big picture?   Where is the connection to the long-term corporate objectives or strategy?

The more we know about the ‘WHY’, the better we will be able to deliver a solution or product that fits our client’s needs and the better we will be able to encourage and inspire our teams to be great at what they do.

With the end-goal and purpose in site, everyone works harder, more efficiently and more purpose-driven.

So, ask yourself “WHY?” first.  If you can’t answer the question, ask someone else.  If, eventually, you can’t find the answer, then I think we have a problem.

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