What powerful productivity-booster is missing from most workplaces, but might take as little as 5 minutes to implement?

Professor Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School discovered what it was when he researched the behaviour of call centre employees whose job was phoning university alumni and asking for donations to go towards scholarships.  Before making their phone calls, the call centre staff read brief stories from scholarship recipients about how the scholarships had improved their lives.  As a result, the call centre staff raised twice as much money as they had in previous weeks.

Reminding the call centre staff about WHY they were doing what they were doing doubled their results.

Just imagine the impact applying the WHY strategy can have.  Would you like to see increased commitment, increased effort and increased buy-in in your team?

So here are 5 things you can to bring more WHY into your workplace and rev up results.

  1. Get clear on WHY your team exists.  Who is the end user of what you do? How do they benefit from what your organisation does?  How does your team specifically contribute to that benefit?
  2. Now ask your team WHY the team actually exists.   You might find that they don’t really know, or if they did once, they’ve lost connection with who they’re really there to serve.
  3. Keep your team talking about the WHY.  Make discussions about the purpose of your team’s work a regular event.  Get your people thinking about the impact on clients of what they do, as well as the impact on others in your organisation.
  4. Show them the client.  If your team are far removed from the final user, it’s hard to make a purposeful connection.   Arrange for you team to meet with client-facing employees and get real-life stories on how the clients benefit.
  5. Link your team’s WHY to the organisation’s WHY.  Build explicit connections between your team’s specific purpose and the purpose of the organisation as a whole.

Getting your team to work hard without giving them the missing ingredient is like baking a loaf of bread and leaving out the yeast.  Bring in the WHY and watch them rise to the occasion.