388 - How to Answer Why

Posted February 2, 2022 by Mark Perna

  Episode: 388

Episode Title: How to Answer Why

Young people are always asking why because they want to make things better. So how can we give them a real answer? Let’s talk about it, next on The Perna Syndicate.

 

Ep 388 show:

Welcome to The Perna Syndicate! Yesterday we talked about the question that young people are constantly asking—the question why. It seems no matter what we ask them to do, they have to know the reason behind it. While that can feel insubordinate, most of the time it’s simply because they want to make a real contribution to the task at hand. 

 

Understanding this is key to having good interactions with this generation. But understanding their reason for asking isn’t enough. We also need to have a good answer to the question itself. 

 

For young people, answers like “this is the way we’ve always done it” or “because I said so” just aren’t compelling reasons. We have to give them something a little more substantial than that. They’re smart, they’re resourceful, and they deserve a real answer when they ask why. 

 

Don’t be afraid to be honest with young people. Show them the respect of giving a real answer when they ask why—even if the answer, to you, feels like it should be obvious. They may be approaching the problem or task from a completely different perspective and need the background information to grasp the big picture. 

 

Even if you don’t know the reason why, be honest about that, too. It can be an opportunity to dig into the question together. 

 

So the next time a young person asks you why, don’t blow it off or give them half an answer. Be real with them—and they’ll do the same toward you. 

 

Tomorrow: what’s it like to manage a team of younger-gen workers? If you do it right, it’s a great experience. I’ll share my approach on the next episode of The Perna Syndicate. See you then! 


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Mark Perna
Mark C. Perna is an international speaker and bestselling author. He also serves as CEO of TFS Results, a strategic consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development.
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