Welcome to the twenty-first of our Entrepreneurial Wednesdays series. In this series, I share my thoughts on lean entrepreneurship as I take my first steps in my journey. I will be sharing my lessons learned with you.
Pheew! Already 21st article of our Entrepreneurial Wednesday series and still so much more to say. Last time, we talked about the method of 5 WHYs. I hope you managed to try it at least once in practice. If yes, share your experience and benefits of this approach in the comment section.
It became a tradition, that one article of few hundred words is not enough to dig really deep into it. So, after giving it a thought, I decided to dedicate one more article to this method. Not only because I personally see a lot of benefits in it, but because there are several things (essential to the method) that need to be done properly.
Success is achieved by everyone, failure is caused by one person
You know what can very efficiently destroy this method? I mean, completely erase all of its functions and all of the pros it can bring the team/company. Blame. That’s right. It’s the blame that causes teams and colleagues to argue and eventually create a bad working environment. Two important points to remember if you want to implement this approach successfully:
One, it’s the management that has to create an environment leading to cooperation.
Two, blame can destroy the best in you, your team and (sometimes even) whole companies.
It’s these two things I want you to never forget and always remember whenever the topic of this method comes up. Without these two in an alignment, there won’t be any magic happening. Although, the book itself discusses being tolerant and not making the mistake twice as the two most important things, my point of view is from the position of your mindset. Some of us don’t admit it, but our egos have limits. It’s widening these limits that let you use this method on so many levels.
How to swallow the ugly truth?
As I have already mentioned egos, let me build up on it a little. Your egos are going to suffer so much if you adopt this method. Your mistakes will surely be discussed using the 5 WHYs and while this leads to efficiently solving a problem, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
Everyone is looking at you. You made the mistake. It’s you who put us through this suffering. We are wasting time because of you. My friends, if something sounds familiar, get out of that environment now! Because this is how it should look.
Every project should have a leader. And adoption process of this method as well. This leader is the one who organizes, delegates tasks and takes the risks. It’s not you in particular. It’s your leader and your TEAM. The thing is that the leader should be someone who really supports this adoption process, someone willing to take the blame for you, just to see the project flourish. Someone who takes actions whenever a mistake is made and brings stability to the whole team with all his effort. He is the one looking over your shoulder, reassuring you that what you do here is for the good of the whole team. That means, if a mistake is made, it’s a mistake of the leader and his team. Not an individual mistake.
Ideally, I would go to a total extreme with this one and agree with Gary Vaynerchuk. He says that the leader is ALWAYS the only one to blame. Well, he is the one who creates the environment, chooses the people and organizes actions. But basically, what I want to say is:
If you are adopting this process in your team and there is no one who has your back, ready to support the team whenever something goes wrong. You know the environment and the mindset are not ready.
Lastly, when you have handled the problems with your egos. You have prepared your mindset and opened yourself to criticism and some ugly truth, there is one more thing to do. If you want to see fast results with the method of 5 WHYs, make sure you are concrete with the symptoms you want to solve. If you already know that you are lacking something. Dig deeper into it with this method. It takes time to master, particularly in asking the right questions to get into the core of the problem. Being concrete narrows your options and once you get some more practice, I’m sure you will be ready to deal with anything.