Build your WHY. If you want your co-workers, your supervisor and your customers to accept change, you need their buy-in.
In this lesson, we'll address the Three Whys to start building the case for change.
The Three Whys
It's critical to address your Why before you start your project. You probably have many problems or opportunities to address, so in this step, you'll determine the viability of the project you choose. Often, we have promising opportunities, but the time may not be right to start it now.
Using the Three Whys begins to help you build your case for change.
- Why am I making a change?
- Why should others care?
- Why should it happen now?
The Three Whys exercise should be a simple exercise. This is not intended to cover every detail about the problem, but instead to help you work through and document your initial thoughts.
Don't skip this step - while this exercise may take minutes or an hour to complete, starting the wrong problem at the wrong problem can result in wasted weeks or months of effort.
Download the The Three Whys Template to document your case for change.
1. Why am I making a change?
Outline the reasons you want to make a change. Include specific details or statistics that support your why. Describe the impact of this problem to your team or your organization.
2. Why should others care?
Put yourself in the shoes of others and ask "What's in it for me?" We love to call this WIIFM (pronounced whiff-em). Describe the benefits for your customers or the employees involved. If you were impacted by this problem, think about why you should care.
3. Why should it happen now?
Convey the sense of urgency and the importance of starting now. Most likely your organization is busy. You have plenty of other projects and priorities, so why should your company spend time on this effort? Should they stop other efforts and turn their attention to this problem instead?
Your Why gives you vision and purpose. The "because I said so" approach makes others immediately shut down. If you can build enthusiasm behind your why, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Be honest, do you have a compelling why? Will you be able to sell your idea to others? Is it really the right time to make a change?
This is a great opportunity to go talk to your co-workers. Ask them to help you answer the Three Whys. What do they think?
Gather some initial, basic data. What does your data tell you? Does the data support your why? Are experiencing a one-time problem, an outlier, an anomaly?
Remember - keep this exercise simple. The purpose is not to fully analyze the problem, but instead to conduct an initial evaluation.
If you don't have a compelling case for change, now may not be the time to do the CI project. If you have just convinced yourself that this is not the best time for this project, don't throw away your idea! Keep it on your Opportunity Log and revisit it in a couple of months. Your organization will continue to grow and change. You may have more success in waiting to do the project at a later time. Don't worry – go to your log and choose a different project and go through the Three Whys again.
Action Items for this Course