The Power of ‘Why’

The youngest member of the Miller clan (not pictured above) recently learned the most powerful (and annoying) question in the English language.

The conversation goes a little something like this:

Me: I need you to finish eating your dinner.

Guttersnipe: Why?

Me: Because food helps you grow big and strong.

Guttersnipe: Why?

Me: Cause your body needs vitamins and nutrients and stuff.

Guttersnipe: Why?

Me:  Because, if you don’t eat your dinner you can’t watch more Masha and the Bear.

Guttersnipe: Oh.

The frustration this conversation brings when you just want a little bugger to eat his food is, significant. But, properly deployed, this technique create a constructive conversation that doesn’t end with the respondent steering the car into a lake while screeching “Leave me alone! I don’t know!”

For example, the “Five Whys” developed at Toyota are designed to get you beyond the surface level challenges to the underlying root of the problem.

Think about how you might apply this to your own life, your underlying assumptions, why you believe what you believe, and why you do what you do.

You might change your own mind about something pretty important.





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