LINKS AND FURTHER READING:

  • The research comes from Ryan Buell, Tami Kim, and Chia-Jung Tsay. Their original study appeared as a 2015 working paper. It was subsequently refined and published in the May 2016 edition of Management Science. In this Harvard Business Review piece, they defend their research.
  • Like this Pinkcast? Subscribe to get Dan's newsletter and a Pinkcast delivered to your inbox.

    34 Responses to “Pinkcast 2.7: Have 2 fewer conversations about “how” and two more about “why””

    1. Marjorie Perry says:

      Perfect insight, not used much theses’ days!

      thank you!

    2. interesting… this also reminds me of the (imo) fundamental difference between classic waterfall project management and agile project management, which is typically focused on the user, and what capability we want to provide the user, vs. waterfall’s focus on completing a sequence of tasks.

    3. John Myers says:

      This cafeteria study also suggests advantages to versions of F@F even online rather than exchanging online ideas without seeing each other.
      I like your main message and will work to take this advance about the importance of purpose. Others like the Heath brothers have made a similar point.

    4. Nick O'Connor says:

      Thanks for this provocative presentation.

      The interesting irony is that this Pinkcast is about “how” to improve motivation, not why. Playing devil’s advocate here, I’m reminded, as an actor, about the actor who asked the director “What’s my motivation in this scene?” The director said, “Your paycheck.” Personally, I believe it’s important to know the “why.” Different answers to “why” will have different results. “Because I want to” can be a really good answer, as can “Your paycheck.”

      So, the metaconversation might be “Why improve motivation?”

    5. The actual publish date for this article is June 2017, Vol. 63, issue 6, pp. 1673-1695. It was published online in May 2016. Just in case someone is trying to find the article (I was, and it’s worth finding).

    6. Good one Dan. Why do I watch pinkcast to get some quick ideas to improve my life. This one is good. Why not spend 2 minutes to learn something.

    7. Steve Kohn says:

      Hey, Dan,

      How’s it going. Hope all is well in the land of Pink.

      I enjoyed your Pinkcast this week….I like all of them, but this was especially good. I also like your new graphics and plain background. Much less distracting than the bookcase and your lighting is well done. (You know I’m a media geek so had to comment on that.) Your point this week regarding the chef seeing his/her customer and performing his/her work better reminded me of this article about Web page conversion ratios for Portraits/Artwork VS. Photos/Videos on a Web landing page….the latter being almost 20% more effective for sales conversion….When you see the person involved with the artwork as opposed to JUST the art you’re more inclined to investigate further is essentially the conclusion….here’s the article: https://vwo.com/blog/human-landing-page-increase-conversion-rate/ Keep up the great work.

      Hope to see you soon. Go Cats.

      Steve

    8. Di Pass says:

      Thanks Daniel. I enjoy all of your short sharp Pink Casts!
      Love the restaurant analogy.
      My favourite restaurant theme is that when we are the customer, we know exactly what we enjoy in good service. If we can capture that and provide that same level of great service to our customers, business will grow.
      Greetings from Australia.
      Di

    9. Thank you Dan. I love the call out between the Transcendent Purpose and the Quiet Purpose. The difference is so valuable to consider because many organizations and leaders back away from tapping the power of purpose because they assume it has to be transcendent. That’s intimidating to articulate, and a perceived trap that it’ll sound over-the-top idealistic, or phony. As Viktor Frankl identified, it’s the day to day, and moment to moment sense of meaning that makes the difference in motivation. It’s the quiet things. Going transcendent is a bonus. Amplifying the quiet purpose is something we can all do.

    10. Jeff Williams says:

      The “Why – Because” component is critical to not just motivation but understanding. If you are a leader and cannot communicate the Purpose and Vision your Mission will always fail. The Purpose – Vision becomes the WHY and the better it is communicated the better everyone responsible for execution can answer the BECAUSE.

    11. Linda Besse says:

      I agree the “how” is interesting but the “why” is important. “Why” engages the heart. Now you have engagement. Linda

    12. Pat Sullivan says:

      Perfect!

      During two years of writing about meaningful, purposeful work, hundreds of people at every level of the corporate ladder and nonprofit organizations told me the same things. Even in jobs that didn’t seem to fit their LIFE PURPOSE, they and I have found meaning and purpose by doing little things with big caring and curiosity. … like serving the cranky boss or customer as if that were your life’s calling in that moment. These small ways of knowing and living purpose are as essential to lifetime purpose as the tiny capillaries are to the big, dramatic aorta and major arteries..

    13. Thanks Dan for this exercise !
      Learning a lot last years about Management, Motivation, Engagement reading your books and watching some of your videos
      Greetings from France
      Patrick

    14. Michele Farmer says:

      I loved the question of “why am I doing this anyway?” Such a great reminder to focus on that. The how is easier.
      Thank you for this Pinkcast.

    15. Barry says:

      Reminds me of a study of radiologists reading x-rays. Their mistakes were reduced significantly when they also looked at a photo of the patient. I think you sited that in To Sell is Human.

    16. William says:

      Another reason “why” I love the Pinkcast!

    17. Srinivas Merugu says:

      Thanks for another excellent Pinkcast! This reminded me of Simon Sinek and his Start With Why approach. The how and what follow.

    18. Shelley says:

      Good reminder to help our small alternative school staff! We can get hung up on the how’s…and stall. Answering ‘why’ keeps our purpose at the forefront of most conversations & planning.

    19. Neil says:

      Thanks Dan…this was nice and succinct. I am going to be more mindful and see if I can pivot to “why” when I invariably begin down the path to “how”. I like this specifically, because it veers from the purely linear of “I want this so I can do that” to something that is more multi-dimensional and gets more deeply into why I am doing something in the first place and how the motivation touches multiple parts of my self.

    20. Kelly Ann says:

      Great clip! Love the research from the cafeteria to validate the tip, and then the simplicity of the tip. Already shared it with someone!

    21. Ed Cinquini says:

      As a teacher, why – not just a goal but why do I really want to do this particular activity. Equally important, having students ask why. Another great Pinkcast.

    22. Hi Dan,
      This is a really good one for quick practice. And it’s so powerful and simple. I have had countless bouts of orienting my team on focusing on purpose; This really kills it for me. Thanks for it

    23. definitely a question to discussion to have with myself to maneuver out of a corner!! ah, clarity . . .

    24. Ramneek says:

      Thank you for this message

    25. Sarah says:

      A challenging idea, thanks! I miss the book-lined room, actually.

    26. Dave says:

      Like it.
      I drive my family nuts when they jump in with suggested actions, and I always suggest first stepping back and being clear on the ‘why’, then the ‘what’ (the end in mind), to create powerful context for the ‘how’.

    27. Hoo says:

      Dan you can’t leave us hanging.

      Why are you doing the Pinkcast?

    28. Gail says:

      Really enjoyed the Pinkcast this week and this is the second time in a week that they Why question has come up – serendipity. I will certainly be incorporating that into my week.

      Thanks Dan

    29. Nancy says:

      This is a simple concept that lis easy to forget in the midst of busy days. I started asking WHY a few years ago with my daily gratitude practice. After I made a list of everything I was grateful for, I went back to ask WHY and wrote my reasons down. Adding this simple question led to honest evaluation, clarity, and some major life changes. Thanks for the reminder.

    30. Todd Wheeler says:

      A well articulated WHY will guide all the Whats and Hows best.

    31. Luke says:

      Great Pinkcast, Dan! The emotional “why” tends to be much more powerful than the practical “how”. I will definitely do this immediately.

      Just a side note, Dan. Before recording, please make sure your glasses are straight. If you need them adjusted, go to almost any eye wear store and they will adjust them for free. 😉

    32. Paul says:

      Interesting Pinkcast this week. About a month ago the Domino’s Pizza in the community I work in started to build a new store to replace their existing one. It has a full window view of the pizzas being made. In listening to your idea, it occurred to me that it will also provide the pizza chefs the opportunity to see the people they are making the pizza for providing that all important ingredient to success, purpose.

    33. Greg says:

      I live in Japan. Many restaurants are small and many with counters. The owners and/or food preparers are right there in front of you and often talk to you, or at least greet you. The quality is usually excellent, Japanese, Italian or whatever.

      Makes sense.

    Leave a Reply to Paul