October 5, 2012
The power of "why?"
Christopher Murphy, writing for Multidisciplinary Design on "human resource":
It's no wonder monolithic businesses often fail. They grow and, in so doing, lose sight of what matters; people become humans and, in that subtle, but important semantic shift the people - the passionate individuals who drove the business forward, who gave it its lifeblood - become disillusioned and leave. The business, however, moves on, like a giant machine, unable to comprehend the significance of what it just lost, unable to understand the consequences of its now mindless actions.
Here's a thought: this shift often coincides with a business losing its strong sense of "why?" Why does it exist? Once, that would have been to "do a great job of providing X", where X is their line of business. At some point, the answer becomes something between "to continue existing" and "to provide stable income for senior management".
Humans are very motivated by "why?" - they are very unmotivated by those other questions. Never underestimate the power of "why?".
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