Want to know more? Reach out!

I'd be happy to chat about The Activated Genius Method, my research, our individual and organizational coaching programs designed to maximize your performance, or Tailored Output in general.

No question it too silly, or too profound. This is my life's work. Let's chat!

- julie

Arlington, VA
United States

Tailored Output is a professional development coaching company with an emphasis on goal-setting, career-planning, and team-building within the context of creating whole and fulfilling lives. 

Individuals working with Tailored Output will uncover their unique genius to identify career opportunities that will contribute to a whole and fulfilled life.

Organizations working with Tailored Output will learn how to assemble multi-disciplinary teams--staffed with engaged and motivated members--to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks in alignment with the corporate mission and values.



The Tailored Output Blog


But, Why?

Julie Slanker

Why? is a tricky question.

Depending on how you wield it, Why? can sound super accusatory or condescending. And it's not even about the tone of voice you use. Why? carries its own unhelpful subtext. It is the Why? itself that causes all the problems. 

Why did that happen? (Subtext: What did you do to cause this?)

Why do you want to do that? (Subtext: You shouldn't....)

Why is that important? (Subtext: It isn't....)

In coaching training, we are taught to avoid the word Why? for that exact reason: It's tricky and unhelpful. It puts people on the defensive. It makes you sound like a jerk. And nobody wants to be coached by an unhelpful jerk.

At the same time...

If we are going to do our part to solve a problem - to disrupt the status quo we can no longer stand. If we are going to make a major change. If we are going to step into the full measure of our Genius to build a better world for ourselves and our communities, we need to get to the bottom of Why?

[Quote: "Before spending all your time and resources, it's incredibly important to re-define the problem." - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner, Think Like a Freak

[Quote: "Before spending all your time and resources, it's incredibly important to re-define the problem." - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner, Think Like a Freak

Why does the problem persist?

Why is this change so difficult?

Why have previous attempts failed - or succeeded?


This is not a call to judgement or self-criticism. This is not an accusation. This is not even - necessarily - an invitation to introspection. This is a research project. 

Because I am willing to bet that if you - if we - truly understood the root of the big problems we face, we'd be a further down the road to solving them. 

We're smart.

We're capable.

We're motivated to make a change.

Let's focus all that effort and energy on the real root of the issue. Let's dig in to what's really holding us back. Let's uncover the obstacles that are really getting in our way. 

You'll notice my use of the word real. That's the key. And that's why this is a research assignment. Because too often what we think is the problem, at first glance, is actually one of the symptoms.

Often what we think is simple and straightforward is actually complex and interconnected. Often what looks like a personal problem is actually an issue with the environment or the system or the bigger structures we work within. 

Sometimes what we think is a management issue, a leadership issue, a cultural or societal issue, also has its roots buried deep within us.

So you've got to understand Why? 

Why does the problem persist? 

Why is change so difficult?

Why have previous attempts failed - or succeeded?

[Photo: The Helix, Bangkok, Thailand]

[Photo: The Helix, Bangkok, Thailand]

I'll give you a hint: Your first answer will be wrong. Maybe not all the way wrong. But definitely incomplete. Dig deeper. Look inward. Ask around. Keep unwinding. Do more research. What is below that first answer to your inquiry? Why does that situation exist? 

Don't stop there.

Keep going. Keep asking. Explore the many levels of the status quo - you can no longer stand. Document the reasons Why? so that we can spend the rest of the year focusing your Genius on what will make a real difference in achieving your goal.

This post is part of a yearlong series stepping through The Activated Genius Method to access and engage your unique Genius, incubate your Leadership, and develop necessary skills so that you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible. To follow-along from the beginning, start here.
Then join me every week with your Rise & Shine! Monday morning email as I dive a little deeper into the art and science of human performance and guide you through the practical application of this blog's theme.
Name *