Communicating Expectations In Construction: Why The “Why” Is So Important

by | Apr 21, 2019

Thought Leaders are everywhere these days, and a lot of them talk about the “Why” as being so important. But what can you take away from these lessons? Learn why the “Why” is so important to construction and business in general.

There has been a lot written or spoken about why the “Why” is so important. From Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” – and his TedX talks – to “How Did That Happen” by Roger Connors and Tom Smith, people are trying to wake us up to the paradigm shift that has occurred in society and what it means to business. It’s not only about having willing participants or subservient robots, but instilling sincere enthusiasm about an expectation, initiative, or vision.

Accumulated Power

For millennia, information was limited and often tightly controlled by leaders in fairly rigid, hierarchical structures. As a result, leaders accumulated significant power giving them control over their populace. These powerful people were viewed with reverence, almost as if they were gods, or at the very least anointed by the divine to lead. For the most part, people followed without question even if their instincts told them something wasn’t right. They were willing participants – to dissent was sacrilege.

Old Paradigm

In the developed world, you can still see some evidence of that old paradigm in certain professions such as medicine and politics, but even there the shift is happening. As the general population has become more educated and information has become much more readily accessible, people are no longer accepting the old command and control approach.


That access to education and information combined with common sense, instincts, and skepticism has people asking “Why” more than ever. They can see when the emperor has no clothes. “Because I said so” does not have the same impact it had even 30 years ago. Due to an incredibly tight labor market, high quality employees can be far more selective than ever. They are not afraid to change jobs until they find a company that expresses a “Why” with which they closely identify.

Communicate Your Why

According to Simon Sinek, the “Why” is what you believe. The “Why” is how you create trust. If people aren’t getting on board with your vision or meeting your expectations, it could very well be that your “Why”, your beliefs, are not clear, are non-existent, aren’t sincere, or just don’t resonate with your audience. In order to ensure the best odds of employees fulfilling the correct expectations, skillful leaders focus most of their time and effort communicating the “Why” to capture their employees’ hearts and minds.

In Conclusion

The next time you need to communicate a set of expectations to your employees, take time to think about “Why” they would be completely engaged in the matter. Remember, fear may motivate in the short-term, but it does not capture the hearts and minds – in fact, it does the opposite. Instead of getting buy in, people will do a half-assed job while looking for other opportunities. Truly understanding what will engage your employees, and being able to communicate that effectively so they feel good about the task at hand will help you build an organization that consistently delivers on expectations at the highest level.

I’d love to start a conversation with you about my new role. Leave a note in the comments below or connect with me on LinkedIn, where I’m most active!

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