• Explaining the rationale behind a request or recommendation

  • Equipping others with the purpose of an assignment and the significance of information

  • Giving the details, sharing the context and removing the mystery behind our words and actions


It is important to equip others with the reasoning behind a request. When we share a goal, or the purpose of an assignment, it helps others learn and it increases the likelihood that they will succeed. This truth applies in all areas of life. At home. At work. With your children. With your friends. With your spouse. With your co-workers. With your boss. With your customers. And so on. There are few times that it is not good to equip others with at least some of the reasoning behind a request.

At Funds For Learning®, we call this principle our Share the Reason GuideMark.  I have previously illustrated some of the benefits of Share the Reason, along with a personal example of why it is so important that we put information into context. I thought this week it might be beneficial to address the impediments to this GuideMark. If it is so good to share the reason, why do we not do it all the time? What stops us? Here are four factors.

Time – It takes time to give others background information. If I have a task that I need someone to help me complete, it may feel like a waste of time to fill them in on the underlying needs that they are helping to address. Or, there simply may not be time to explain it right now.

Habits – Patterns of behavior have a serious impact on what we say and do. If my previous work experience, or even the home that I grew up in, devalued the sharing of information, or equipping of others, there is a good chance that I have picked up some bad habits along the way that will work against me sharing the reason with others. Worse still, I may not even recognize it because of the very fact that it is a habit.

Fear – Over the years, I have had the opportunity to observe situations in which individuals kept other people in the dark because of fear. The situations vary, but the basic thinking goes like this: if I explain my work to you, then you will know how to do it, then I will no longer be needed. Therefore, because I am afraid of losing you as a customer, I am going to keep you uninformed.

Lack of Understanding  – This is the Grand Daddy of excuses for not sharing the reason. Sometimes people do not explain the need that is being addressed or the reason something is done a certain way because they themselves do not understand it. Of all the motives for not sharing the reason, this is the scariest. In cases like this, the blind are leading the blind.


Of course, there are other rationales for not sharing the reason, and, in some cases, there are ethical and legal limitations that require it. (That is why Funds For Learning has a Code of Confidentiality to which all employees must submit.) But it has been my experience that in almost all situations, everyone can benefit from a little more Share the Reasons. Empowering others with information can be liberating for everyone.

I encourage you to take time this week and consider how well you Share the Reason with others. One way to find out how you are doing is to ask others to tell you. Of course, if they want to know why you are asking them, it would be a good idea if you explained it to them. That is… Share the Reason!

Key Words and Phrases

Offer a rationale; Give details; Describe; Make clear; Explain; Clarify; Put in plain words; Enlighten.

Opposite Terms

Mystery; In the dark; Secrecy; Ambiguity.


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