Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Why, How And The Road Less Travelled

Heard of an interesting way to look things earlier today that is still rattling around in my brain.  Those that work for someone know "how."  Those they work for know "why."

Why something so simple runs around in my head, I don't know.  It could be my son's search for a job.  Sometime soon, he will be one of those that knows "how."  Think of all the job's you've had and what you learned there to carry out what was expected of you.  That's a lot of know how.  I still make pizza the same way I did at my first job and look at photos and lighting the same way I did when I worked in a photo lab.

And then there is the "why."  To get a job, you don't care about the "why" right away... you just want to get paid.  After you know the "how" sometimes you stray over and start asking the "why" but that starts encroaching in on the boss' territory.  Some focus so much on it that they start ignoring the "how."

Oddly enough, if you have a better answer to the "why" than the person you work for, you will move on and improve upon that model.  When a young Sam Walton had a better "why" than his boss James Cash Penney (yes, J.C. Penney), he built a better beast.  John Lasseter's better understanding of "why" than his Disney executive bosses took him on an amazing journey.  Lasseter was terminated from his job, he brought that "why" to Lucasfilm creating Pixar... and it would be acquired by Disney 22 years after his termination.

What does it all mean?  I see people often questioning the "why" of things while working on the "how" side of the business.  There are times that I do as well.  But, I also know that a "why" is often not worth voicing unless solicited.  Well, unless I have the next Walmart or Pixar on my hands.  Who knows?  Maybe my son will.

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