Why vs How

“He who has a “why” to live can bear with almost any “how.”

–    Friedrich Nietzsche

Substitute “work” for “live,” and the concept still applies.

In Dave and Wendy Ulrich’s book, The Why of Work; How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win, the issue of why we do what we do is probed.

Here are a couple major considerations, actually called out in the preface of the book:

1) Leaders are meaning makers, and

2) When leaders grasp the “why” of meaning, they then should seek the “how.”

For those of us who are tasked with leadership, these are compelling and serious calls to action, as well as calls to understanding. For those of us who report to leaders – and that’d be all of us, these are a call to force the issue. If your leader doesn’t understand the “why,” how can they possibly expect to get even close on the “how?”

If our work doesn’t have enough “why,” we’re going to have to find it – and we’re going to have to help others find it, because a life spent only in the “how,” isn’t what difference makers aspire to.

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