The Semco Style 5 Principles to transform the way we work
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The Why Way

Asking why to delve deep

If we have a signal strategy that forms the bedrock for all our practices, it may be to simply ask “Why? – Ricardo Semler


In a Nutshell

Whenever you do something, practice asking why. Not just once, but three times in a row. For, when you ask “why?” you are forced to look beyond the literal aspects of what you want to do and deep dives into the real motivations.

If you get an acceptable answer by the third why it means you’re aware of your true motivations and understand the implications behind your proposal. But, if your three whys are answered with flimsy reasoning such as, “It is what it is…”, – it proves that you are probably doing something you can’t convincingly explain. Creating this awareness works wonders in breaking down resistance to change and in opening up new ways of working.

It is also a useful way to tackle the dreaded and inescapable ritual of work life: The meeting. At Semco, all meetings begin with the question, “Why we agreed to what we agreed to last time.” They don’t have minutes, but by recounting what was decided and why — and depending on who’s in the room — the meeting may even be declared unnecessary. If there are satisfactory answers, the meeting moves on – but, never because a meeting, or its minutes, indicate it should.

 

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