Why is COVID-19 happening? Well, we can speculate but we don’t have the real answer. What we do know is that WHY matters in connection with a bigger purpose. Whether it’s in the change being forced upon the world by COVID-19, or a change you make in your organization, everyone wants to know why.
Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand had a conversation with scientist Dr. Michelle Dickinson – who specializes in science communication for kids – and Dr Siouxsie Wiles. The topic of the conversation was how to talk to kids about the coronavirus pandemic.
A colleague watched the interview and applied her insight about the importance of “why” when her daughter complained of boredom. She didn’t sidestep the question with, “because I said so” or “you just have to stay in the house whether you like it or not.” She didn’t push off responsibility and say, “the government (or our leader) is making us do this.” She didn’t use a fear inducing threat, “if we don’t avoid other people, we could die.” These are all common approaches when explaining change.
Completely reframing the whole conversation, my colleague said to her daughter, “Honey, you have an important mission to save the world. How many 14-year old’s get the opportunity to prevent someone from dying? Your mission is to stay home and protect the world.” After that explanation, Sienna embraced her mission and was more at peace with the requirement to stay safe and stay home. Whether you are talking with your children or your team, both value a why connected to a bigger purpose.