Help with a quote

“Tell a man why and he’ll figure out how.” (or something like that).

Is this attributable to anyone in particular? Sounds a bit like Ben Franklin to me but it could just as well be Cecil.

Probably not the one you’re looking for, but I’ll take a shot with this quote;

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

-George S. Patton

I love the OP quote! Sorry, I don’t know it. However, the phrase “figure out” sounds too modern for Franklin’s time, to my ear.

Would you mind explaining the meaning of the phrase? It might help us determine the origin.

It has to do with motivating people to action. The Patton quote comes really close. It’s certainly a hallmark of an outstanding leader when you can come up with a vision and move your people to buy into that vision–they will find a way to make it a reality…and all you did was come up with an idea and tell your people WHY it was a good idea. They now willingly own the vision rather than just follow your orders for a concept they don’t really understand.

G: “Frodo, take this ring to Mordor and toss it in the volcano, ok?”
F: “Piss off! You’re the wizard, YOU take it!”

as opposed to:

G: “Frodo, if Sauron gets this ring The Shire’s going to burn, There’ll be no more Longbottom leaf, The Green Dragon will be shut down and Rosie Cotton will be taken by the goblins.”
F: “I gotta destroy this thing!”