Get to the Core of a Problem With the 5 Whys

This tool is a simple and easy way to identify the root cause of a problem and is generally applicable to most any issue.


“It is important to be honest in asking and answering the right questions.”

Start with a problem, then ask “why is it occurring?” What you’ll discover is that you are giving yourself the surface-level answer that in most cases is nothing more than an excuse for it not being fixed before it became a real problem. Because of that, you’ll need to ask this same why-question again to get a deeper answer.

Then ask it again, and again, and again. Each time you are answering why to the previous answer. It’s like when a child keeps asking you “why”. Yes it may seem annoying, but you’ll eventually reach the underlying cause of the problem. That is ultimately what we need to know so we can actually fix the real problem to prevent it from happening again.

It is important to be honest in asking and answering the right questions.

You will find that by asking the question “why?” five times you will get at the cause that needs to be fixed. Asking five times gets you to the root cause. When you fix the root-cause you will generate substantial and positive results instead of just creating a serious of Band-Aid fixes that will ultimately cause you more work.


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