Today's post reminds us of three quick tools - really three quick questions - which can get us to unlayer current business situations to get to root cause. Let us take a look at all three:
1. The Five Whys The Five Whys gets us to ask the question WHY Five times. For example, a customer service team is struggling with getting a product out the door. The first layer of asking Why - i.e. Why can't we get the product out the door? points to We don't have enough staff.
The second layer of the Why when we ask "Why don't we have enough staff? actually points us to the fact that while we have enough bodies they are not in the right place.
The third layer of asking WHY - this time "Why do we not have them in the right place?" The response is " At that time everyone is on the floor rather than processing?"
The fourth layer of Why asks "Why is everyone on the floor at that time? is because they cannot locate inventory and have to do it manually".
Fifth layer asks "Why do they have to do it manually" and the answer is - the bar code scanner is not working.
So.... at the end of the day the root cause brings us back to a faulty scanner that is not working. Taking the time to get to this level by asking why is much less than an alternative decision which might be grounded in "we just don't have enough people".
Question 2 - Another way to get to root cause is to flip the problem and attack it by asking WHY NOT? This too can help to unpack the layers
And finally - Question 3 - What else? asking what else can sometimes get us down to root cause and/or may expand awareness and data about the issue.
Activity: Take a current business challenge and apply one of these lines of questions to get to root cause and/or expanded awareness about the issue. What are your next steps?
Have a great Thursday,
Potentials Realized | Coaching Team Leaders
Team and Leadership Development | Coaching | Retreats.
Author of From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013) and Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009)
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