5 whys

The “5 why” framework from Toyota encourages us to keep asking why until we get to the root cause. Their insight was that it typically takes us 5 consecutive why questions to get to the root cause.

I forgot a jacket when leaving home for a short trip recently.


I spent half an hour searching desperately for a key that, in fact, was right in front of me… and forgot about my jacket.


I packed last minute.


I normally do it fine but this time I was tired and off my game.


I was sleep deprived.

It’s tempting to stop here. 5 whys have already helped make progress. “Sleep matters” is a good learning.

But what if we pushed further?

Why did being sleep deprived affect my ability to pack?

I was trying to remember my packing list instead of using a checklist.

That gets to the system insight that will actually prevent this the next time we travel.