WHY? – The Question That Stops Improvement

Haven’t we all been in situations where our expectations were dashed?  Managers endure failed projections, time exceeded due dates and goals that aren’t achieved.  This too, often happens to parents who listen to their teenagers promise to clean their room, do their homework and “do better next time.” Well if you’re in any leadership position at all, then a change is long overdue.  What if you could motivate others to succeed on time?  Watch out, if you continue reading, you’ll discover how to get people to exceed expectations!  You’ve been warned, proceed at your own risk.

Let’s start at home.  You’re in a confrontation scene when you discover that your offspring didn’t do something.  Whether it’s a neglected chore, forgotten responsibility or broken promise, a confrontation occurs when expectations are not met.  Familiar words are exclaimed by parents when these failed facts are revealed.  WHY?  WHAT?  HOW? Heightened tensions and feelings pour out.  “WHY didn’t you keep your word?”  “WHAT stopped you from doing what you were suppose to do?”  “HOW could you be so unreliable?”

These reactions are typical.  Unfortunately, they remove any hope of correcting these irresponsible actions.  That’s right, the best outcome you can expect – compliance.  When you ask “WHY” you give excuses a microphone.  Giving a voice to justifications, defenses or explanations is going in the wrong direction.  Letting defenses speak guarantees that it hogs the focus, steals the spotlight and garners all the attention.  Is that what we really want?

Perhaps a parent with a very YOUNG child might want to hear reasons and alibis.  By understanding circumstances, parents feel they can better guide choices.  Of course childhood is suppose to be temporary.  Natural growth and development requires parents to relinquish control.  Erik Erikson summed up the consequences of prolonged parental control.  He warned that it would extend childhood and create “a life-long residue of emotional immaturity.” Doesn’t that ring so true when you’re again listening to a familiar litany of excuses?

If you are that parent or manager who savors control, then by all means go down the road that explores excuses.  This affords you an opportunity to show off your knowledge and wisdom.  Truth be told, there are many in leadership positions that really seek that ego boost.  Unfortunately, when you PROVIDE answers and solutions, you shortchange growth.  Without developmental opportunities to work through failures or set-backs, emotional immaturity flourishes and apathetic attitudes develop.

“I forgot.” “I tried.”  “The dog ate it” or “Good enough for government work” are all popular defenses that have gained widespread use.  Help end the reign of repetitious excuses.  Stop asking WHY!   Instead of promoting defensive explanations, keep the focus on the intended objective.  The accomplishment of some behavior or action is the real goal, right?  Keep it there.  Don’t go off that focus by exploring the reasons for failure.

When in a confrontation scene where you’re feeling surprised, disappointed or angry because a work goal wasn’t met, make a different MOVVE!™  Since they caused your shock, disappointment or anger, ask a better question than WHY.  Ask them what they’re going to do now to make immediate amends and accomplish what they were suppose to do.  This will ignite energies toward behavior rather than entertaining a rationalization rant.  One is productive, the other is lip service.

Movve loge EliteHaving people aim for the future is much more profitable than reviewing history, right?  MOVVE!™ is the procedural application of Elite Motivation that uses emotionally intelligent communication practices to motivate attitudes and behaviors in the pursuit and achievement of goals.  The result is goal-driven productivity, teamwork and success.  Instead of using WHY, which only explores lame excuses, MOVVE!™ produces productive behavioral outcomes with pattern changing action.


My first book, Elite Motivation, can be found on Kindle and Amazon.  Follow this link to find out about it: goo.gl/OPZXsp

My Guidebook, which offers a graphic filled step-by-step format, can also be found on Amazon and Kindle.  Here’s the link:  MOVVE – The Five Keys of Elite Motivation

Contact Jamie Cox M.Ed., (509) 396-4307, email: themovve@charter.net or at our website: themovve.com  Discover MOVVE™ our procedural application of Elite Motivation that walks the talk of messages, information and knowledge.





4 Responses to “WHY? – The Question That Stops Improvement”

  1. Esteban says:

    I don’t usually post but I enjoyed your blog a lot.

  2. Linne says:

    Hmmm Thanks for yet another nice and good post. Where do you get your inspiration for all this :|?

  3. Caskey says:

    I like Your Article about WHY? The Word That Stops Success. |’s perfect, just what I was searching for!

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