What and How, but Why?

October 23, 2018


Working around the region for the past 20 years has taught me to always be sure to know what to do, and how to do it. All my aspirations were to always learn more by using the what and the how. Two things that are highly expected by trainers/consultants.

I have supported and guided many people to learn the what and the how. There were never any issues.

Then, I started to realize that, even though we know what to do and how to do it, we rarely do it. In fact, about 10% of the learners were successful and all others did not implement anything, and eventually forgot it all.

Looking at the 70-20-10 model, where 10% is the formal learning and the rest are on-the-job coaching and social learning, we should not expect that after a session in a class, even with the best gamified activities, people will retain and implement what they learned.

The 70 and 20 of the model is the responsibility of the leadership of the learners. I could tell you more about what to do and how to do it and you would probably be fine, but here is the million-dollar question:

WHY?????? Why do you do what you do? Why do you want to do it?

Most of the time, I ask the learners, why do you work here? What I get from them is: money, big company, experience. I continue to ask why, and everyone goes: What do you mean?

When we were kids, parents and friends used to ask us what we wanted to be when we grow up. And we always answered with what came to our mind – our innocent, instinctive mind: I want to be a fireman, I want to be a doctor, I want to be a teacher. And when we were asked why, our answers were mostly, because I want to be like mommy, or daddy, or my teacher.

What made us answer this way?? It is because we were on the receiving end. We felt how good it was to be helped, to be loved, to be taken care of. So, we unconsciously thought, I want to help too.

Now, This is the real Purpose. This is the why.

When it comes to sales or service products, what is the purpose of the sales and service representative?

Many know the what and the how and claim that they cannot succeed because of many external reasons (economy, organization, leadership). However, the few who succeeded were the ones who had a purpose, not only a simple goal. That purpose was the driver and the trigger, not the place they worked in. As for the rest? Well, that is the reason why we have challenging times in developing learners.

It turns out that without a purpose – your big hairy audacious goal (as Ed Capaldi, a growth catalyst, described it), nothing will genuinely improve, and if it did, it won’t be sustainable.

At what point did we loose that purpose, that big hairy goal that made us focus on improving people’s lives rather than just making money?

So, what is your big hairy audacious goal?