Curiosity is generally an inherent aspect of all children. Children do not have years of experience and education to rely on and they don’t assume to know the answer. This basic question – why? – is the building block for how they learn. As any adult can tell you who has ever spent time with a curious 3 year old, it’s not always easy answering those questions. It can be exhausting. Sometimes you don’t know the answer and sometimes it feels overwhelming to think about the real answer and how to best explain it.
Yet if we stop and take the time to answer the whys we are often the ones to learn. It give us the gift of looking at things from a fresh perspective and finding the answer. It forces us to take the time and think about an answer that we may have always made assumptions about.
In the business world, why is commonly associated with Six Sigma techniques when analyzing and searching for root causes of problems. But, as change managers it is important that we ask why from a broader perspective. This basic question can be the cornerstone for productive communications. It can lead to meaningful discussions that help build empathy and trust with team members. It can help individuals struggling with change better understand their feelings and help them think about problems differently. And all of this helps to develop strategies that focus on the people and how best to create sustainable change within an organization.
So, why not ask why?