The who, the what, the where, and the why…

Who, What, and Where.

Whether we are launching into a meeting, a training class, or an Improv scene, we are taught to verbalize or acknowledge the “who”, the  “what” and the “where” at the beginning.

Who are we, where are we, and what are we trying to accomplish forms a platform – so that we have something to fall back on when ambiguity arises (and it surely will).

For obvious and practical reasons, these basic details establish a baseline, and provide clarity and alignment.

In an Improv scene we are also taught to establish the “why”. We’re taught to figure out our characters motivation or objective and to let every action or lack thereof be in service of that motivation.

Think back to your last training or learning class at work – especially if it was a mandatory one.

Why were you there? What the was the larger objective and goal? Was the “why” even established?

Sometimes we get so focused on the basic, repetitive nature of the who/what/where that we forget the importance of the “why” in many aspects of organizational life.  We’re not looking for the “why” to be a pain or to whine, but to be curious and to tap into our own motivations.

What if we asked a different question:

What are we trying to accomplish versus why are we trying to accomplish this?

Kicking off a meeting or a class without a why, or neglecting to leave room for the learner to marinate on their own why can keep us on this basic cognitive-only level. Tapping into the “why” brings us closer to an emotional or personal learning experience that fuels relevancy, meaning, and perhaps a more intrinsic motivation.

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