Transitioning to Senior Leadership: Explaining your Rationale

The second, outlined here, is to explain “The Big Why.”

People want to know what we call “The Big Why.” They want to grasp and understand the rationale behind decisions, change, and direction. Think about it. When was the last time someone told you to do something without explaining their rationale? And, what was your reaction?  For many people – including myself – directives evoke defenses. Tell me what to do and I’ll get it done, but in a compliant way.  Tell me why something needs to get done and I’m much more likely to being committed to doing it.

Instead of making a change and then just expecting others to accept it and comply, consider the following:

  • Discuss the alternatives that were considered.
  • Tell people what you know and what you don’t know – and why.
  • Acknowledge how the decision will impact everyone.

At the end of the day, your team members appreciate transparency and openness, even if the decision may negatively effect them. Transparency and openness also make people feel like they are trusted, respected, and connected to their organization – instead of being left in the dark. And, when people understand why, it helps establishes a sense of urgency for next steps.

Stay tuned for our next post for more on making the shift from consensus or compliance to commitment.