Fact-Based Decision-Making: The Five Whys Technique

Access this 9-minute training video now and learn a critical technique for getting to the root of a problem so you can make an informed decision. Discover:

  • A technique – the Five Whys – that can help you quickly get the information you need to make fact-based decisions
  • What it means to have a “threaded conversation”
  • And how the Five Whys can make you a better manager

Why are we giving you access to this program for free? Because it’s the best way we know to introduce you to the Leadership & Management Rapid Learning Center – a new approach to developing managers and supervisors throughout your organization.

Here’s how it works: Request this video now and we’ll email you a user name and password that gives you instant access to the Leadership & Management Rapid Learning Center. There you’ll find your video on decision making and a collection of other training resources for managers and supervisors. You’ll have unlimited trial access to this powerful library of e-learning modules, reports and fast-read articles.

More information for those who love the details…

Why bad decisions get made

Managers get paid to make difficult decisions – about hiring, firing, promotions, salaries, resource deployment, operations, new products, new markets and more.

How many of those decisions they get right is what separates the best managers from the rest of the pack. The question is what does a successful leader know about decision making that less others do not?

Decisions doomed to failure often suffer from one common problem: lack of information.

Some incorrect decisions are made because important inputs to the decision were impossible to obtain. You decide to ramp up production goals but fall short because your biggest supplier had a warehouse fire that destroyed the inventory you needed.

However, the real enemy of smart decision making is failing to uncover information that IS available but you failed to get it. You just didn’t ask the right questions or didn’t ask enough questions. That’s not bad luck. It’s bad decision-making.

Access this video now and learn how to use The Five Whys – a critical skill for managers who want all the facts before making a decision.

The Five Whys Technique

The Five Why’s Technique, invented by Toyota after World War II, is a method used to explore cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. It assumes that if you repeat “why” roughly five times, the nature of a problem, as well as its solution, becomes clear, often in what might be described as an “aha” moment.

Here’s an example of how the Five Whys can be used in a hiring situation:

HIRING MANAGER: You have a 15-month gap in your resume two years ago. Tell me why.
JOB CANDIDATE: I left Innovative Software to freelance as a consultant. It was a great experience.
HIRING MANAGER: Why did you leave Innovative?
JOB CANDIDATE: Lotsa reasons, but I guess mostly because I didn’t see eye-to-eye with my boss.
HIRING MANAGER: Help me understand why not.
JOB CANDIDATE: We didn’t agree about how best to deal with customers.
HIRING MANAGER: Why do you say that?
JOB CANDIDATE: Well, my boss kept telling me I was ‘too technical’ when I talked to customers.
HIRING MANAGER: Why did he think you were “too technical”?
JOB CANDIDATE: I don’t know. He probably meant I wasn’t willing to “dumb things down” as much as he wanted me to.

Aha! It took five “whys” to reveal that the job candidate may have a serious problem with customer communication and performance feedback. By using the Five Whys the manager “peel away layers of the onion” and gained valuable about the candidate. This information, which will factor into the hiring decision, might never have come to light without The Five Whys.

The Five Whys won’t prevent you from making bad decisions altogether. Bad luck and other factors can still interfere. But it can prevent you from making uninformed decisions that can be both costly and embarrassing.

Access this video now as part of a free trial to the Leadership & Management Rapid Learning Center.


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