Drilling Deep With The 5 Whys
The 5 Whys is a common talked about problem solving method that is taught. The quick explanation is to keep asking why until you get to the root cause. It seems simple and straight forward, right?
Then when it is tried people start to see it isn’t as easy as it may seem. The hardest part people have is knowing when to stop asking why. Five id just a suggestion to drive home the point to dig deep.
A rule of thumb I like to use, is to keep asking why until the conversation gets uncomfortable. This isn’t easy because the other person may get upset with not knowing the answer and start to get upset with you or you may have to start asking tough questions that cross into uncharted waters.
Why do I do this? Because that is the point where the real learning starts to take place for the person asking the questions AND the person trying to answer the questions.
If the person knows the answer right off the top of their head, that seems to superficial and could have or should have been fixed already. That doesn’t seem like a root cause (although it could be). Digging to a point where the conversation gets uncomfortable surfaces deep rooted issues that can drive bigger and/or better change.
Learning is the key to problem solving so don’t stop asking why until you have gotten deep enough to cause some level of uncomfortableness. That is where you will find the root cause.