“Because” represents a reason
why something occurs. “Because!!” is a “because” that is beyond your reasonable control. Finding
the “Because!!” frees you to start solution building.
Example Headscratcher: “How do we improve our
order-to-delivery cycle time?” Let’s say it takes 20 days from customer
order to delivery and you would have a significant competitive edge if you
reduced this to 15 days. So you start asking why it takes 20 days ….
The Why Game? You’ve experienced this with your
children or as a child. Someone says something and you ask “Why?”
They give a reason. You ask “Why?” They give a reason for the
reason, you ask “Why?” They give another reason, You ask “Why?” etc.
etc. This goes on for a while until the answer back is “Because!!”,
which ends the game.
The Why Game in Business. When something needs an explanation
in your business, ask why it is the way it is. Keep asking
why? If you get to “I don’t know”, then find out and keep going.
“I don’t know” needs to be found out. When the reason changes
from things you can control to things you believe you can’t control, it’s
time to switch to another tactic. Now understand if you really can’t
practically control those things. If you can, keep playing, but when
you reasonably can’t, then stop asking why and write down the last
reason. This becomes the “Because!!”.
Because!! becomes a constraint to your universe of possible
solutions. The critical thinking here is that once
recognized as a constraint, innovative solutions, workarounds and
circumventions can be created.
The Result of The Why Game in our example
might lead you to “Because!!, the best supplier can’t delivery their piece
in less then 10 days”. This now becomes a constraint. Having
recognized this, you can now look at working around it. Can you
pre-order based on trends and the return policy if you order too much, can
you drop ship direct to the customer, etc.
When do you accept “Because!!” as the
“final answer”? The speed at which you can create solutions is related to the speed at
which you can identify the constraints. However the quality and innovativeness
of the solutions is related to the depth you go before you accept those as
constraints. This is where the elements of Leadership and
Judgment come in. In the example, if your supplier is already the
fastest in the industry, and their belief is that it’s the best they can
offer at this time, do you accept this as the “Because!!”, or do you continue
with “Why?”, If you sell a software product, do you get Microsoft
to fix every bug in Windows, or do you accept that bugs will exist and spend
your energy working around them instead of visiting Redmond with large
posters of insecta. Even the emotional “Because!!” … If the big
boss decides on the design for an advertising campaign and it comes down to
“Because the CEO likes the color Blue!!”, is it productive to challenge that
or accept it as a constraint.
When to stop asking why is key to
successful Headscratching. We’ll get back to techniques to help here at another
time. Inevitably however, in ALL cases, “Because!!”
occurs, and when accepted as a constraint, solutions can be created.
The Takeaway: When Headscratching, dig deep for
the “Because!!”. Leadership and Judgment will guide the depth of the
“Why Game”. Ultimately when “Because!!” is reached, it simply becomes a
constraint to the possible solutions that you can now start creating.
Headscratchers, LLC enhances the problem solving skills of people, resulting
in more innovative and successful solutions. We do this by
combining the cognitive skills that people already possess, with building
blocks such as logic, invention and leadership. We specialize in
the application of this process towards Product, Services and Operational challenges
and partner with you to solve these business Headscratchers. Contact us
Previous editions of Headscratcher Posts at The
Headscratcher Post - Archives.
The Next edition will cover “Beating the Odds”
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