We’re generally really good at and comfortable with talking about “what:” what we’re proposing, what the big vision is, what the plan looks like. We’re eager to spend our time constructing the argument, perfecting the slides, and standing up and making our big pitch.
“We want to do this and this and then this.”
But “why” often stumps us. We treat “why” like it’s some sort of attack. “Why” makes us feel defensive.
“Why” can sound to us like someone is tearing down the “what,” just without doing it directly.
Here’s a suggestion. Hear “why” for what it is: a chance to dig into the assumptions, the core issues, the strategic opportunity. “Why” means: I share your goal of getting to the bottom of this one, let’s figure it out together by getting to the core issues.
More often than not, when someone asks “why” they really mean just that.