5 Whys

Have you ever had an employee issue that refused to go away? No matter what you did, sooner or later it would return, perhaps in another form.

You might be trying to solve the wrong problem.  Here’s a technique worth trying, it’s called the "5 Whys" and it’s used to get to the real, root cause of the issue. Good news, it’s easy!

When a problem occurs, you uncover its nature and source by asking "why" no fewer than five times.  Here it is in action.  

Problem:  Bart is often late for work.

  1. Why are you late, Bart?  Traffic is bad.
  2. Why?  'Cause I leave during rush hour.
  3. Why?  'Cause I sleep in.
  4. Why?  'Cause I’m up late.
  5. Why?  'Cause I like to watch my favorite show and it's on at 11:30 pm.

Interesting.  Now we know that, we can talk about focused solutions rather than assuming a bad attitude, or tips on navigating traffic or buying alarm clocks!