New ideas and ways of thinking—or people who think differently than you do, for that matter—aren’t always easy to embrace. Instead of sticking with your knee-jerk reactions, better understand your reaction with the Five Whys.
Photo by TheBusyBrain.
In order to embrace and understand what makes you uncomfortable, GigaOM’s Mike Speiser says to apply the Five Whys method, especially when you find yourself reacting negatively to an idea. Wikipedia defines the Five Whys as “a question-asking method used to explore the cause/effect relationships underlying a particular problem. Ultimately, the goal of applying the Five Whys method is to determine a root cause of a defect or problem.” For example, if the problem is that your car won’t start, the Five Whys might look like the following:
1. Why? – The battery is dead. (first why)
2. Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (second why)
3. Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (third why)
4. Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and has never been replaced. (fourth why)
5. Why? – I have not been maintaining my car according to the recommended service schedule. (fifth why, root cause)
The five isn’t actually a hard and fast rule, but you get the idea. If you’ve ever employed the Five Whys, tell us how the exercise turned out for you in the comments.