The 2 Answers Every Leader Must Know


If you’re of my ‘vintage’ (born in the late 60’s) you may remember the catchy Budweiser beer commercial that chanted “Why Ask Why? Try Bud Dry!”

That slogan / ear worm runs through my mind when I think about today’s topic: “WHY”.

(Sorry if you thought I was going to riff about beer … perhaps another day!)

Okay, here’s the deal:

As leaders, we must have at the tip of our tongue a clear and decisive answer to WHY we are headed the direction we are … and we must be able to explain the intended outcome for when we get there, a/k/a the OBJECTIVE.

With everyone now educated with our clear intent, they can decide to like or not like the direction we are headed. And then their intent often becomes clear, too.

A win-win.

Here’s a simple example:

  • “Kids, load up we’re going to the store to buy groceries (the “WHY”). By having groceries we’ll be able to sustain ourselves with nourishing food like Cheetos. (the “OBJECTIVE”).
  • RESULT: The kids rejoice and race to get buckled in.
  • Not-so-good-alternative: “Get in and shut up!” Resulting in: Kids revolt and throw tantrum in the store.

Here’s a more complex example:

  • “In order to regain profitability (the “WHY”), which in turn fuels raises and other investment opportunities, we will stop selling the XYZ Widget for 90 days (the “OBJECTIVE”) while we determine how to improve our profit margins.”
  • RESULT: Team sees big picture and rallies behind the short term challenges.
  • Not-so-good-alternative: “The XYZ Widget is cancelled!” Resulting in: chaos, rumors and dissent.

Take your pick, no matter where we find ourselves as a leaders … we must do what others do not typically do: explain why and outline the objectives.

Having those two answers alone will propel you to the head of most packs. Packs made up of an informed group of supporters. A win-win.

Lead On!

Now, who can you forward this to??


About the Author

Mike McKenna is the founder and president of TEAM Solutions. He helps public and private sector organizations do what they do better by improving their capability in incident management, their response to planned and unplanned events and all manner of training (in person, online and via video conference). His diverse background in security/investigation, NPO/small business management and disaster response/search and rescue merge to give his clients innovative, efficient and practical solutions to a broad range of operational challenges. Please contact Mike via the Contact page or at any of the social media links with your unanswered questions and your unmet needs.

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