But WHY?

But WHY?One of the tools I’ve seen used, often mandated by  some corporate initiative, for determining the “root cause” to some sort of issue was a 5 WHY Analysis. This was typically done in the form of a diagram that was to be completed and emailed to the department head that was overseeing the process where the issue occurred. In some cases, serious effort was put into truly identifying the actual causing and contributing factors that led to the issue. In many, however, it was more of a formality; a set of boxes to be filled in so the task could be checked off the list…

The statement “Growth is stimulated by asking WHY” is what John Maxwell uses as the subtitle for The Law of Curiosity, chapter 12 in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. In those cases where those “WHY” boxes were filled in simply to check the task off the list, how much growth do you think actually came from the process? As you would likely expect, a tool is only as good as the effort the user is willing to put into it. That said, asking “Why?” five times rarely resulted in deep answers…

When trying to understand why some people lacked curiosity, and seemed to remain stagnant, John says he often asked himself these questions: “Are some people just born without the desire to learn? Are some people just mentally lazy? Or does life become so routine for some people that they don’t mind living in a rut, doing the same things day in and day out?” Do any of these fit for you? Since you’ve read this far, I highly doubt it! But I would guess you’re seeing the faces of different people you know who may fall in one or more of these categories…

In describing how difficult deep thought can be, I’ve heard it said that 2% of people actually think, 5% think they think, and the rest of the world would rather die than think. As tough as that statement is, I don’t know that it’s too far from being true. How often have you asked someone what they think and gotten “I don’t get paid to think” or “it hurts too much to think” as a reply? I know they’re likely trying to be funny, or perhaps a bit sarcastic, but mindset behind that statement can be devastating to a career – specifically their own…

So whether you’re faced with finding the root cause to a problem or you’re digging for ways to identify your next big opportunity, how much more value can you gain (and how far can you separate yourself from the masses) by continuing to ask WHY as you THINK into the situation?

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