Five Whys

There’s a problem-solving technique called the Five Whys. The Five Why’s. 

(I’m very sensitive to apostrophising plurals, but recently read on grammarly that if it improves the readability and understanding of the sentence, then it’s accepted. Millennials rejoice 🙂

The idea is that you just keep asking why, to get to the root cause of a problem. 

It was originally developed by Sakichi Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Motor Corporation, but kids are natural masters of this technique. It’s annoying, and usually reveals just how much science we have forgotten since year 8.

Five because that’s how many times you usually have to ask why to get to the root of the problem. The cause.

Here’s an example:

Why did you vote for Trump?

Because I like him. I like what he stands for.

Why do you like what he stands for?

Because he wants to make America great again.

Why does that resonate with you? 

Because there are too many Mexicans here.

Why too many?

Because they’re taking our jobs. 

Why does that worry you?

Because I’m scared I won’t be able to support my family.

Here’s another one:

Why did you have an affair?

Because I was attracted to them.

Why were you attracted to them?

They made me feel good about myself.

Why did they make you feel good about yourself?

They adored me. It was nice to feel adored.

Why was it nice?

Because I haven’t felt adored for a while. I’ve felt neglected.

Why have you felt neglected?

Because you haven’t shown me any affection.

Handy empathy technique, don’t you think?

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