Whether you are dealing with problems in your organization or your personal life there is an effective way to get down to the root of the matter. It’s called the “Five Why’s” and was first made popular by Toyota back in the 70’s as they applied it to their manufacturing process.
When dealing with issues, we often fall short of the real cause because we don’t go deep enough. We tend to deal with symptoms and don’t bring a solution because we haven’t identified the “root problem”. To demonstrate how this works, pick any problem facing you right now – pick a big, hairy one. Take the time to reflect on this problem by asking “five whys” in sequential order. Once you get the answer to your first “why” then you ask the question “why” and so on until you asked the question five times, each time going deeper into the matter.
People and groups of people (i.e. organizations) often fail because they don’t solve the real problem because they don’t ask the right number of “whys”. This week try it and please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as to how it worked out for you. I would love to learn from all of you!