The Value of “Why”

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Asking why produces valuable insight. 

Asking why requires reflection that leads to understanding, often uncovering root cause. Challenging people to think is what stimulates discovery, solutions and growth

In a customer relationship setting, asking why establishes what a customer truly values, beyond their expressed need.   

In a quality assurance scenario, asking why something happened, after learning what occurred or how it occurred, accelerates the diagnostic evaluation and identification of productive remedies. 

In an employee development situation, asking why communicates a deeper level of empathy, beyond what can be accomplished through active listening alone. 

But when employing a why question, be aware of two caveats. 

First, because reflection is the objective for asking why questions, allow time for the respondent(s) to answer. This could involve waiting a few minutes, or perhaps sending everyone off to think about the issue, research possible reasons, and return later with an answer. 

Also, the tone used when asking a why question makes all the difference. If your tone is accusatory, reflection about cause will be replaced by reflection about self-defense, producing minimal productive insight. 

How often are you employing why questions?

How has asking why accelerated discovery and decision-making 
in your operation?

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