Doesn’t the question WHY drive most people crazy? Of course it does! You are asked a simple question and you respond with a simple, logical answer. Then, your eyes roll and the blood pressure rises when you get the WHY response. It cuts like a knife! Your response seemed so simple, so logical, and they just seem to not be accepting the response. This is especially true when your child is giving you the WHY question, in multitudes! Yikes! It is hair pulling time for most of us when that happens. Before your blood pressure rises and anger boils up … just stop and think. WHY are they asking the question WHY? Could there be a logical reason?
The Quality Tool WHY
Of course there just may be a logical reason they respond with the question WHY to your response. Maybe they are seeking an understanding of the answer you provided. As a quality tool, the 5 Whys is a powerful quality tool to get a better understanding of a problem, especially when problems involve human factors and interactions. Using the 5 Whys tool, you can quickly start peeling back the layers of the problem, thus giving you a better understanding of the problem or issue. It enables a Lean Six Sigma professional the ability to get down to the root cause, compare the root causes of related problems, and the tool is easy to implement without extensive statistical analysis. A professional is not locked into asking just 5 Whys when using this tool. Fewer questions may get you to an understanding of the root cause, or it may take more than 5 Whys to achieve a complete understanding. This is why the tool remains one of the most flexible and efficient tools available to a Lean Six Sigma professional.
Embracing the WHY
So, next time you are befuddled when someone asks you the question WHY, understand what they really want is clarity on the information you have provided them. Embrace the power of WHY! If you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t get the right answers. Inquiring minds seek to solve problems.