Get clear on the WHY and the HOW is easy

rock pile exupery

“Les pierres du chantier ne sont en vrac qu’en apparence, s’il est, perdu dans le chantier, un homme, serait-il seul, qui pense cathédrale.”

This is a quote from Antoine Saint-Exupery, author of one of my favourite books, The Little Prince (my post on that book here). I’ve shared the original French here too, as it can be translated in multiple different ways depending on the viewpoint of the reader.

All too often the work we do in life can all too easily feel like a pile of rocks to move, to pile up. We can do it, follow instructions. do as we are told, but hardly stimulating work.

However, if we recognise that we are part of building a cathedral, where our role within the overall purpose is to move those rocks, then we can feel part of that higher purpose. We can then feel aligned, engaged and motivated.

Even more, collectively when we are all clear on our WHY then we can also trust each other on the team to work out HOW to achieve it. The phrase I use often around this is:

“When you get clear on the WHY, the HOW is easy”

So, looking at that second thought, when you feel you are, as a business, a group, a team, stuck on moving something forwards and perhaps even arguing back and forth, I recommend you pause, take time to get clear on WHY you are doing what you are doing and the problem you are seeking to solve.

In other words, get clear on the WHY.

It may take some time to get that clarity, but in my experience when you do, working out WHAT to focus on next then HOW to achieve it becomes so, so much easier.


Also published on Medium.

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