‘5 Why’ solves any problem in your company?

Written by Vanshitha M

Published on Oct 5, 2023


Source: mindtools

Are you struggling to achieve the reach and results you desire in your business? Well, if there’s an issue in the output, make sure to question ‘why’ 5 times!! The perfect tool at your disposal!

The Five-Why technique:

Introduced by inventor and industrialist, Sakichi Toyoda, the Why technique swept the biz world! He started the Toyoda family company which was soon established as Toyota, Japan’s largest automaker company. The whole motto of the technique is to get an in-depth analysis of the problem to pinpoint the underlying issues and devise well-informed solutions.

Let me give you an example:

Problem: The company didn’t reach the target sales.
The questions:
1) Why didn’t the company reach target sales? The sales team underperformed
2) Why did the sales team underperform? Because they weren’t working.
3) Why wasn’t the sales team working? They lacked a comprehensive plan for the division of labor.
4) Why couldn’t the sales team come up with a strategy? They were unfamiliar with the new product.
5) Why sales team not know the product? The communication wasn’t clear.


Here, we can understand that the sales were reduced due to a communication gap between top managers and the sales team which led to a discrepancy.

The 5 Why template:

The template goes like this;

→ What is the problem?
→ Why did the problem occur?
→ Why did the reason in question 2 happen?
→ Why did the reason in question 3 happen?
→Why did the reason in question 4 happen?


For this analysis to work you need to comprehend these details

  • Define the problem: Go deeper with the question, identify the root cause of the problem, and when you figure it out work on the cause. Clear Problem reveals a clear solution!
  • Start with ‘why’: Remember to base the answers on facts rather than emotions. It will facilitate the process of getting a real root cause.
  • Expect complexity: The vastness of an answer to the question of ‘why’ can reveal layers of interconnected problems.

Source: kanbanzie

  • Make it right: When you comprehend the problem or multiple problems, act on them accordingly. Make sure the problem doesn’t recur again.
  • Monitor and document: Come again and make sure the solution left a positive impact. And Document the whole process to learn about problem-solving.

Why ‘5 Why?’

  1. Simpler: Asking yourself ‘why’ can unravel a bigger cause thus unravelling multiple organizational issues.
  2. Recurrent Problem Resolution: If an issue is recurring in nature, relying on a small solution wouldn’t fix the problem, we need to analyze more.
  3. Flexible: 5 Why has always embarked and incorporated in many other analysis metrics such as Root Cause Analysis, Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma

And you know what?

Toyota, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, still uses 5 Why and announces it to be “the basis of Toyota’s scientific approach.”


Mastering 5 whys can be the perfect answer for troubleshooting, quality improvement, and effective problem-solving. Toyota, a major automobile company still relies on the 5 Why technique to understand organizational problems.

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Thanks for reading.

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Vanshitha Munipally
( Research & Content Marketer )

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