When was the last time your company encouraged you to ask “Why”? Why do we do it that way? Why don’t we do it like this?

Probably not recently, but If you have asked that question what was the response; was it “because that’s the way it’s always been done”?

Considering our economic times and how many companies are struggling to increase their financial viability it is amazing that more companies are not creating a culture of “Why”.

So what is this culture? It’s a culture that focuses on asking “Why” and encourages and rewards employees for doing so. It is not the all too prevalent culture of pointing out what is wrong with the organization, pointing of fingers, abdication of responsibility or the placing of blame.

A Why culture encourages and even requires everyone to ask:

  • Why do we do what we do and why do we do it the way we do it?
  • Is it efficient?
  • Is it cost-effective?
  • Should we be doing this at all?
  • Should I be doing this or should someone else?
  • Is there a better way to do this?

A company’s biggest asset and liability exists in its people. Yet most companies fail to leverage these assets to the fullest and miss the opportunities to tap into the people who will see opportunities for improvements in operational efficiency.

Everyone in the company should always ask themselves, their co-workers and leaders those questions above. But it doesn’t end there, that is just the beginning. They should then be asking what can we do differently?

  • If it is not efficient what efficiencies can be implemented?
  • If it is not cost-effective is there a way to make it so and how do we do that?
  • Should we be doing it at all?

This is a very important question because most companies continue to do “things” that are inefficient and cost money long after they should have stopped.

Should I be doing this or should someone else?

Like the previous question, this is extremely important. If it is something that must be done, should you be the one doing it? Early in my career, I had a manager that taught me the very important lesson of asking the question of what is this costing the company? For example: If you make thirty dollars an hour plus benefits does it make financial sense for you to spend two hours filing or does it make better financial sense to get a temp at eight dollars an hour with no benefits so you can spend that two hours on something that benefits the bottom line?

Is there a better way to do this?

Companies and people often forget to ask this question for a number of reasons including but not limited to the fact that change is uncomfortable and they have been doing something a certain way for so long they neglect to consider if the process has become obsolete.

The focus is on asking “Why” and coming up with creative solutions that lead to efficient, cost-effective ways of doing business while breaking down barriers and encouraging collaboration; and what business wouldn’t want that?

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