The “5” Whys

I found this article and immediately identified with his section:
 Ask yourself five “whys.”

My mentor taught me a trick for getting to the root of any present-day problem. It’s called “The Five Whys.” Look at any situation happening in your business today. Ask yourself or the person who is in that situation why that situation occurred.

When you answer, drill down further with another why. Let’s say your sales suffered this quarter. Why? Because you didn’t have a big enough sales team focused on growing the business. Why? Because your senior sellers resigned and you were left with two junior sellers. Why? Because the sellers felt negatively about the company. Why? You get the point. By going down to at least five “whys,” you can untangle the problem pretty effectively.


I think the pot-stirrer in me likes the idea of this because it will get peoples goat and see if they are really open to changing a situation and/or fixing a problem or just giving people lip service. The more you think about it, if you can somehow pull this off, without being annoying, then you may very well get to the bottom of things.


Next time I go into a meeting I am going to take 5 note cards with “WHY” written on them. I am going to ask questions until they are all used up. If the participants can’t come to an answer then I will hand them over and kindly request they ask someone who can answer the questions.


It’s worth a shot….

Image Credit: Andy Rouse / NHPA / Photoshot / Universal Images Group

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