Have you ever had an argument with a 4-year old? Having just come out of this season of my life, I spent several years with conversations that began with a lot of “why’s” and ends with a frustrated parent (ahem, me..) stating “because”. A fairly juvenile response, but ironically I find myself having conversation after conversation with organizations that has this same tone.
“Why do you do this?”
Whether we like to admit it or not, we all (yes I’ll include myself) frequently default to the “because” mentality. Why? Because it’s easier to go on with business as usual rather than ask, “Because why?”. The Atlantic recently posted an interesting video about the 32-hour work week. For nearly 10 years, the organization Treehouse has challenged the “because” mentality of the 40-hour work week and only required full-time employees to work 4 8-hour days a week (and yes they all receive full-time benefits). Be sure to check out the 5-minute video – it’s worth the watch. When they asked “because why?”, they realized their employees were likely a lot more fulfilled and productive when they had actual work-life balance that was more than words on paper.
Which begs the question – what practices does your organization engage in “because”? Does your team ask “because why?” Why do we do the things we do? Whether it’s 40 hour work weeks or arguing over 3.7% vs. 4% pay raises (which in most cases the difference between the two after taxes leaves enough money for a family trip for frozen yogurt), what are the “because” practices your organization might want to explore doing differently? For organizations competing for talent or trying to differentiate themselves in the market place, perhaps it’s time to take a few minutes for your team to come together and look at practices and consider how to transform your “because” to “because we’re different and you should be a part of this team”.