Asking the “Six Whats” Will Help You Strengthen Workplace Problem Solving


It’s an understatement to suggest this is a time for creative problem-solving in our organizations. Everything about how and where and when we work is being challenged along with how we engage and serve our customers in the marketplace.

Too often, we react to symptoms or throw solutions at poorly defined problems. The failure to get to the root cause and underlying assumptions behind something that seems to be a problem results in half-measures and new, resultant problems. Consider this Hall-of-Fame list of cures that were targeted squarely at symptoms:

A Few Horribly Misdiagnosed Problems:

  • Our strategy is great! We have a sales problem.
  • Our marketing is great! We have a sales problem.
  • We don’t have a strategy problem. We have a profit problem. (Sears CEO….Sears was once the world’s largest retailer.)
  • Our customer service numbers are heading in the wrong direction—we need to restructure the area. (Every dumb executive…

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