5 x Why, 5 x Who

You may have heard about the 5 Whys.

It was originally developed at Toyota to help them figure out the root causes of failures and inefficiencies on their manufacturing line.

Over time, the idea spread – it now shows up in everything from Six Sigma to goal setting. It’s a great way of uncovering problems – especially those relating to processes and systems.

Change just one letter in the 5 x Why concept and you’ll probably land on 5 x Who.

Or, more specifically, Who is it for?

The car, the campaign, the service, the sandwich.

Who is it for?

We usually answer this. Just once. That may be enough, but often it’s not.

You can do this little exercise alone, but it works even better with a friend, coach, colleague or mentor.

And if you’re using this for something that’s important to you (and I’d bet you are), don’t think about it too much. Use your instincts. Go from your gut.

Get the other person to ask you this simple question 5 times in succession, and just say what comes to mind. Ask them to write down your responses.

You may be surprised at where you get to – where the root of this goes, who this is really for, who they really are, and maybe even why this all matters. And once you’re done, take a moment to observe how you’re feeling – you may just have uncovered something more.

Who is it for?

Who is it for?

Who is it for?

Who is it for?

Who is it for?


thanks to Bettina Bellande for inspiring my 5 x Who

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