27. Share The Why.

Before others can understand what to do or how to do it, they must first understand why. Explain the big picture. The more people understand the reason for what we’re doing, the more actively they can participate in the solution.

Marc's Message:


I must admit that of all our fundamentals, “Share The Why” is truly one of my favorites.  Maybe it’s because as a kid, I always wanted to know why.  I’m a Taurus (April 24th), so I guess that means I may have been a little stubborn in my younger years (I hope not so much as I get older).  Therefore, I didn’t want to just be told what to do, but I wanted and needed to know why.  The main reason that I pushed back for more understanding is that if more knowledge was shared, it became an opportunity to learn and be part of progress.  That feels good, as opposed to being kept in the dark and feeling more like a cog in the wheel.

I believe, to my core, that every single associate at Famous should not only understand why we do what we do, but you deserve to be an integral part of the conversation.  When we run our business in an inclusive environment, where everyone’s input matters, we make better decisions that affect us all.

I’m very proud to be associated with a team of peers (all of you) that want to understand and share the why.  To me, it just makes good sense personally and professionally.  A powerful example of the foundation of this fundamental would be a combination of three things:

  1. Our monthly corporate conference calls.
  2. Our monthly branch meetings.
  3. Our individual one to one’s (121’s) with our managers /direct reports.(As a side note for those who are unaware, I do a monthly 121 with a mentor from my Vistage group who challenges me to think about our business in new ways)

These events offer us all opportunities to “share the why”.  We can offer knowledge and ask questions for clarity, and additional discussions can take place for further and deeper understanding.  And by listening to all others, whether it’s up, down, or sideways in our organization, we gain additional opportunities to learn, adjust, and / or change accordingly.

Our new direction with our RDC’s, whether it’s our inventory or logistics plan is a specific example that needed a ton of communication so the entire company was in alignment and understood why we were doing what we were doing.  Can you imagine what chaos we would have if we didn’t thoughtfully share the why?  What if we didn’t communicate and just told you what we were going to do?  So many amazing things came out of “sharing the why”, like the following:

  1. Providing Customers the ability to receive their deliveries earlier in the day because trucks depart much earlier in the morning from our RDC’s.
  2. The implementation of Customer Delivery Time Window’s, again allowing our Customers to receive their orders at specific times of the day as they request.
  3. Replenishing product direct from our Suppliers to the RDC’s, eliminating unnecessary double handling of product & risk of damage.
  4. Shipping orders complete to Customers because of increased inventory levels & fill-rates at our RDC’s.
  5. Positioning Famous for future growth because of added storage space at our RDC’s & increased associate productivity.
  6. The role out of new process like our Customer sold-order transfer process which allows RDC’s to more efficiently & ship & receive orders between branches for our Customers.
  7. The implementation of new warehouse systems technology like ŒCarton Packing & Loading’ which provides for increased shipping accuracy.
  8. Centralizing deliveries so branches could focus on sales.

Please continue to think deeply about this fundamental, regardless of your role, and especially if you are in a leadership / managerial position.  We are not the type of company that plays political games or uses information for the purpose of control, ego, power, or position.  That’s not our culture.  It never will be.  Obviously, there can be more sensitive information that has a confidential nature from time to time, but generally speaking, our philosophy is to be open, honest, and share the why.  We believe in transparency.

In closing, if you ever have 20 spare minutes, I would encourage you to watch the Simon Sinek TED Talk about this vital subject.  I believe you will find it enlightening.  Enjoy, and thank you in advance for sharing the why! https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en