Go beyond listing a goal statement.
Before acting, make sure you understand the why of your what.
I have written separate posts on this blog about bright spots, not-so-bright spots, weak signals, and the five whys. Today, let’s look at how we can use the five whys as a way to take a deeper dive when analyzing what has worked, what has not worked, and what is to come. I will focus on a bright spot example.
Identify something in your community, workplace, organization, or a personal relationship that works well. Whatever you identify, it must be something that stands out for (example) its meaning and/or excellence and/or accomplishment for the greater good. Whatever this bright spot is, it has made a positive difference.
Write that bright spot in one clarifying sentence. For instance, maybe your community has a farmers’ market. The bright spot might be described as
My community has a weekly farmers’ market that allows residents
to have access to fresh, organic, and affordable food.
Now apply the five whys.
1. Question: Why is it important for my community to have a weekly farmers’ market that allows residents to have access to fresh, organic, and affordable food?
Answer: The market provides an alternative to big box grocery stores.
2. Question: Why is providing an alternative to big box grocery stores important?
Answer: Residents have the opportunity to talk with vendors and growers and learn more about healthy food options.
3. Question: Why is this opportunity important for residents?
Answer: The local farmers’ market provides an additional source to purchase non-processed food products from local vendors.
4. Question: Why do our residents need an additional source to purchase non-processed food products from local vendors?
Answer: Food options may provide the opportunity for a healthier diet.
5. Question: Why do our residents need food purchasing options?
Answer: Some of our residents live in food deserts and such community markets may bring them closer to healthier nutrition choices and healthier lifestyles.
Obviously, you can come up with alternative Qs & As. And if you give the initial bright spot statement to 10 people, more than likely you will receive 10 different Q & As. More options to help understand the issue at hand.
The point is that this process can help us get beyond platitudes, glittering generalities, and pre-conceived ideas. It will help us drill down on the reason we do what we do. And it may help us generate more ideas.
Once you have gone through the five whys for your bright spots, do the same for the not-so-bright spots. These could be outright failures or items, events, issues, and initiatives that just did not gain any traction.
Or maybe something your organization does seems to have lost its mojo. Identify the particular item and then go through the steps as above to drill down and get a deeper meaning for why this not-so-bright spot exists.
When you are done with the positive and not-so positive points above, move on to any weak signals you have identified for, let’s say, your organization. The five questions help you dig deeper into what promising practices you see in the future.
Go beyond listing a goal statement. Before acting, make sure you understand the why of your what.
Video recommendation for the Week:
This video starts with identifying a problem. Think of that as a not-so-bright spot. And then go from there as you attempt to figure out why the problem is happening. It can help you identify the root cause of the challenge.
Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.
My latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, can be found in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click here.
My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.
And you can still order:
- Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
- Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.
You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®