How a toddler can help your business

The incessant questioning from a toddler can drive many a parent to despair, but that same annoyance can do wonders for your business.

It is the power of WHY.

The five why’s, used in Lean improvement (the name given by the West to the Toyota Production System, which has worked its way into many mainstream organisations and industries) helps you to identify the underlying cause of problems.  It helps you get to a root cause of a problem, rather than just looking at surface issues. (You could continue to ask “Why” as many times as you deem necessary to get you to the root cause, but it is postulated five iterations is usually enough).

It is amazing the real power in that small three letter word.

A staff member broke his leg.
Why? He slipped.
Why? There were bolts on the floor.
Why? They had fallen out of the bolts container.
Why? The container had been overfilled.
Why? There was an engineering change which means more bolts are needed and the container is no longer large enough.

That is a very basic example, but by using the five why’s you can get to an underlying cause (engineering changes don’t take into account increased parts and storage) that you can fix, rather than making changes that may not stop such a problem occurring again (for example ensuring the floor is always clean or getting a new container for the bolts).

Questioning can help the way in which you run your business, and it will help you to identify areas where some small changes may have some long-lasting improvements.
So go on – be that annoying toddler for a change!

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