HNI Wisconsin President
Helping people understand “The Why” is one of the most critical — and difficult — elements of managing people risk. This is true whether you’re implementing a new safety program or a new sales strategy. Change never will take place organizationally until people understand “The Why.”
Recently, a firm we worked with wanted to make some improvements in their operation. They hired a new employee from a larger, more established firm. This person was just placed in the mix and told to implement the same program he had implemented “where he came from.”
You can guess what happened. It was chaos! Established, long-term “A” players became frustrated and left the organization. Who remained were the “B” and “C” players with the new change specialist. This obviously was not a recipe for success and a huge error in employee risk management.
The proper way to handle this would have been to communicate the strategy in a more proactive manner, so that all employees understood the importance of change. In the case of this company, it was to land a large new customer that specifically required this change.
This company could have achieved much better results by starting the conversation with why implementing the change was important, considering everyone’s input, and then enlisting employees to work together to achieve the goal of new business. In fact, the opposite happened. This firm actually lost business and did not get the new contract. The moral of the story is: Don’t underestimate the importance of answering “So what?” Employees who understand "The Why" make better decisions and embody what living your brand means.