The Five Whys

I’m a long time supporter of a the Five Whys, the GE method for identifying the root cause of problems.  I’m a supporter of it because it gave a name to something I, and many other people, have used intuitively nearly every day of their lives – common sense.  But, it’s nice to have an official name and use by a successful company to make common sense sound sexy.

However, I’m also concerned because I too often see common sense ignored in situations that could use a great deal of it.  We tend to throw common sense out the window when it interferes with a dearly held bias.  I observe that such biases are the main obstacle to getting to the honest root causes.

I’ll use body weight as an example.  People have strongly held bias that their diet is okay, but wonder why they’re gaining weight.  Such people haven’t allowed themselves to look past their bias and consider that the root cause of their weight gain may be how much food they put in their mouths.

What I could use is a “Five Whys” method for helping people overcome their bias.



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