Give them a why (April 2015)
Its Friday again. Most people feel the year flies by but it’s particularly so at this time of the year in SA with all the public holidays. With a three day week at the end of the month I hear many bemoan how little work gets done. That is true in terms of working hours available but I encourage you to make the most of the long weekends for relaxation. And encourage people who work for you to do the same and even to take the three days leave so they get a lovely nine day break. There is plenty of research to show that we can all be much more productive and innovative in our working hours when we are healthy and refreshed.
Give them a why
What is the “why”? The “why” is the reason why we do something: why we do it at all, or why we do it at a particular time.
Two people interacted with me around the same time recently. They received very different responses from me. I found myself watching myself as though from the outside, intrigued by the difference in my responses.
A day before we were going camping for the Easter weekend I got a call from the supply chain department of a company I do work for. Let’s call him Jay. Jay introduced himself and asked if I would please send him my company profile. I replied that I was pretty sure I’d sent the profile when they first contracted with me a few years ago. He said yes but he thought it may have changed and they’d like an updated one. I agreed I would do so, took down his email address and continued with what I was doing which kept me busy for the rest of the day.
The next morning, before leaving for the weekend, we’d decided to go to one of the two pharmacies near us, where one can get the annual Vitality health screening done. At the first pharmacy we found a short but apparently slow moving queue. So my husband waited there and I went to see how it was going at the other pharmacy. I found the nursing sister had just arrived. On enquiring Sister B said she’d be about half an hour with the person before me and would then do my tests. I called my husband on his cell to see how it was going and he said he was next and things were moving quickly now. I returned to Sr B to say not to worry I’d go and join my husband as that would be quicker. She replied “Please don’t. I am behind this month and need to see more people. I won’t be long. Please wait for me.” I called my husband and said “I’m waiting here. The Sister has asked me so nicely. Join me when you are finished.”
After we returned from the weekend I got a reminder from Jay asking for the updated profile. I thanked him for the reminder and said I’d probably be doing it during that week. He replied, by email, “I’d hoped to have it this afternoon.” I just smiled to myself.
He wanted me to prioritise my day to suit his priorities. He didn’t want the profile in order to procure new work from me, he just wanted his records up to date. There was nothing in it for me right now: no reason for me to put checking, and possibly updating, the profile ahead of other tasks I had; tasks that were earning me income right now and in the following month. Neither had he connected with me in a way that might have appealed to my soft side to help him out in completing his task.
The Vitality health checks were something we wanted to do. The results are a confirmation to us of our health status and the Vitality points earned translate into significant cost savings during the year. And Sr B appealed to my considerate side to help her. There are three “whys” in that.
Jay eventually got the updated profile, when it fitted into my prioritised work tasks. I was pleased to have had a reason to update it in line with some pretty recent changes in my thinking. Its “why” had now become apparent and it had come into its appropriate timing.
Could Jay have influenced my response? Could he have encouraged me to get the profile to him sooner?
I think he could have. He could have given me a bigger “why”, a more urgent “why”.
Do you share the “why” when you ask for something? When you delegate work? It is essential.
Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.
© copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved
Story of the Day
We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The six-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.’ – Author unknown