Blog: “Why? x 5”

January 8, 2016



A powerful Lean Manufacturing tool used to get to the root cause of a problem is called "five whys". It very simply asks the question "Why?" until the root cause is reached or a solution is uncovered. An example is provided below.  A member of a Lean Wellness support team complains that she wants to exercise, but has no time in her busy day to do so. Asking "Why?" five times uncovers an opportunity to conveniently make time for it during the lunch break.


Teammate's question (1): "Why do you say that you do not have time to exercise?"


Her answer: "I have to get myself ready for work; get my kids off to school; work all day; prepare dinner; clean up; help with homework; and enjoy a few quiet minutes with my husband before going to bed.


Teammate's question (2): "Could you walk for 10-minutes during your lunch break?"


Her answer: "I like to spend my lunch socializing with co-workers."


Teammate's question (3): "Do you think your co-workers would be interested in taking a walk with you during the lunch break?"


Her answer: "They might."


Teammate's question (4): "What if they do not want to?"


Her answer: "Well, It's important to me, so, I will walk by myself if I have to."


Teammate's question (5): "When will you start?"


Her answer: "I am going to talk to my co-workers at lunch today. I will tell them that fitting exercise into my day is important to me and would love to have them join me and reap the same benefits.


Live Lean!


M. J.


M. J. White is the creator of “Lean Wellness”, a radically different approach to transforming health and wellbeing at work. It is inspired from the top-down, but driven from the bottom-up by continuous learning and improvement. The result is lasting behavior change in people and a more productive work environment. To learn more, visit the website at: or email M. J. directly at:



Please reload

Featured Posts

Mini-Blog: “The Art of Starting Over”

July 21, 2017

Please reload

Recent Posts

August 7, 2019

August 5, 2019

August 3, 2019

Please reload

Search By Tags