The 5 W’s Breed Problems. HOW? Solves Them.

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Forget The 5 W’s!

     Asking and answering: Who? What? When? Where? and Why? is the stuff that reporters and PR people feed on…it’s the cornerstone of a weak corporate management mentality, and of (even weaker) government managers and directors.

     Constant attention to answering these five questions makes for useless, time-wasting pursuit for business owners, managers and entrepreneurs. Any entrepreneur worth her or his salt will typically respond “So What!” to those who exert themselves trying to provide the answers to them.

     Asking associates, employees, customers and vendors to give you the answers to Who? What? When? Where? and Why? is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to uncover the person and circumstances to place blame on when something doesn’t go right…usually as a way to cover one’s own butt! 

     And besides the fact that absolutely no one cares except those engaged in the game, it’s a complete waste of time, money and energy (and I’ll be happy to prove it; send me an email with your phone number and I’ll spell out the details in a 3-minute call!), it’s also the wrong attitude if you’re serious about growing your business.

It’s one of the most basic differences between entrepreneurial and corporate on-the-job actions, and between entrepreneurial and corporate off-the-job lifestyles.


     Which of these behavioral choices (dogged pursuit of answers to the 5 W’s, OR overlooking the 5 W’s to concentrate on the HOW?) do you think is most productive for the business? For living life? For the personal and professional growth and development of the people involved?

[If you’re not with me here,you’re a 9 to 5 guy and should just stay there, and must have gotten to this blog by mistake, and you should probably “X” out now and go get your rocks off by visiting Facebook or Disney or ESPN or something not so threatening to your mindset.]

     Is PLACING BLAME the answer in your organization? Does it seem to be an S.O.P goal? Maybe it’s time to hit the road and find a place that respects your efforts? Many of the world’s most successful and fastest-growing organizations actually REWARD what most corporate executives would certainly regard as “FAILURE.”

     Not succeeding at reaching a legitimate goal is not failure. It is instead a positive step in the direction of achieving success because it eliminates one pathway that doesn’t take you to where you want to go. So it serves to narrow down your pursuits more meaningfully.

     Still doubtful? Think about the answers you get from any human on Earth when you ask the question “WHY?” Go ahead; think about it! You get excuses, right? “WHY?” is a breeding ground for excuses.

     Try instead asking “HOW?” as in “HOW” can we perform this task more effectively next time (vs. “Why did this happen?”). HOW? “What three steps can you recommend to prevent this problem in the future?” will provide much more actionable information than a long, time-wasting autopsy which will only show what happened and who did what to whom. 

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Hal@Businessworks.US or 931.854.0474

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

3 comments so far

3 Comments to “The 5 W’s Breed Problems. HOW? Solves Them.”

  1. […] Ask not WHY something occurred. Instead focus the person involved with improving her or his process. Deal with WHAT can be done and keep it specific, and hand the problem-solving back to the problem-creator. […]

  2. […] even try to do and be better every day without a daily assessment of where we are at the moment and how (what was the process we used) to get where we are right […]

  3. […] changes, job changes, personal and family changes . . . and assessing the impact of each, based on HOW (not why) you do what you do, HOW (not why) you use what you have, HOW (not why) you make the most of the […]

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