Define your 5 Whys

BY: MELISSA THOMPSON

People’s instinct is to say no to unfamiliarity. Don’t let your whys hold you back from success, whether they’re your’s, your employees or your customers/clients. Define your whys and don’t let them define you. Your whys are your passion and drive.

  1. Why not– Define why you’re really saying no to something. Be honest and specific. Is it too costly, not the right time, lack of resources or knowledge, not in your comfort zone, not in your original plan? Often, the first ‘why not’ is a generic, high level reason, such as the previously mentioned examples. Take a step further, exam and evaluate specifically why not. Search for alternatives, arrange priorities, examine processes. While sometimes no does make sense, don’t let your high-level ‘why nots’ be an excuse without a true evaluation.
  2. Why now– While ‘no’ is generally a first instinct to something new, alternatively sometimes a ‘yes’ can be for the wrong reasons. Define why you’re saying yes now. Is it purely based on a recommendation, does it seem like everyone else is, are you comparing your beginning to someone’s else’s ending? Without doing your own due diligence, your why now may not be the right fit for you. No one else is exactly like you or your company. Something applicable for one, may be not enough or too much for another.  Make sure it’s measurable and a right fit for you.
  3. Why you’re doing what you’re doing – Defining this on both a business and personal level is important. Having this defined helps establish your actions and if something is really a good fit. In regard to business, does it align with your mission and is it something that will help you accomplish your objectives? For personal, it often helps to remember what you’re working towards and later evaluating if it’s still a good fit. Are you looking for a work/life balance, stability, to support your family, luxury travel, a social work environment, high profitability? Knowing your personal why can help you on a draining day to keep going and it can also help you evaluate if it’s still the right fit and priority for you. Jobs and life change, so do you whys.
  4. Why you for your clients– Take the solution you’re offering and be really specific about why your clients should choose you and your company. Defining each benefit, client/customer pain point and going beyond the features your product or service offers creates real value. It helps you and your company stand out and can be a deciding factor between you and someone else.
  5. Why keep inventing & dreaming – Dreams and discoveries, they keep up the motivation and interest. Both people and businesses continually evolve and change. If you’re still in the exact same place as a year ago, even six months ago, you and your customers may want to reevaluate your own whys. If you stop progress, what do you think will happen? People are going to go elsewhere. Your customers’ needs keep developing, ensure your’s do, too.