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Why Asking Why is a Good Idea

Have you ever heard of the Five Whys methodology for drilling down to the root of a problem?

If not, get ready to learn something new!

What is The Five Whys Methodology?

The Five Whys methodology is a technique designed to help you identify the root cause of a problem.

Often when problems arise, only the symptoms of those problems are solved. As a result, more symptoms continue to appear in the future causing the same problem over and over again.

Consider the following example.

Your room is often messy. This seems like a simple problem to fix. All you have to do is clean it up, and it is no longer a mess.

Problem solved! Or is it?

You begin to notice your room becoming messy again over the course of a few days. All of a sudden, you have the same problem as before.

Now, what do you do?

You can always clean up the mess, but are you attacking the root of the problem? Probably not.

Applying the Five Whys Methodology

If you take the time to ask yourself why your room is a mess, your breakdown might look like this.

Why is my room messy?

There are clothes, toys, and trinkets thrown all over the place.

Why are clothes, toys, and trinkets thrown all over the place?

They are thrown all over the place because I don’t know where to put them.

Why do I not know where to put them?

I don’t know where to put them because they don’t have spaces where they belong.

Why aren’t there designated spaces where they belong?

There are no designated spaces because I haven’t assigned any.

Why haven’t I assigned any designated spaces to my things?

I haven’t assigned designated spaces to my things because I haven’t taken the time to think about it and do it.

Discovering the Solution

Now that you have asked why five times, you have arrived at the root of the problem.

You haven’t assigned designated spaces to your things because you haven’t taken the time to think about it and do it.

Therefore, the solution to your messy room problem is to think about and assign designated spaces to all your things.

Once you do this, everything will have its place, and your room will stay clean over time as items are returned to where they belong.

A Template to Help

Now that you are familiar with the five whys process, you might want a tool to help you execute it.

Here at Spreadsheet Life, we created an Excel template called the Five Whys.

This template will guide you through the whole process of asking why five times to drill down to the root of any problem.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and we hope you learned something new!

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