A student of mine was unhappy with his performance in course he took called “Decision Failure Analysis in Technology Management” (where we use my A4 failure analysis method, which includes the 5 Why’s). After the course was over, he sent me an e-mail saying that he enjoyed the course, liked my innovative approach to the topic, and that it made him see failed management decisions in a different way. He went on to say:
Regretfully, I was not able to complete the remainder assignments for the course. I will use the 5 Why’s and apply to my own failure to succeed in this course:
1. Why was I unable to finish the assignments?
– Because I didn’t do the reading assignments.
2. Why didn’t I do the reading assignments?
– Because I didn’t have enough time to focus on the reading (and I’m a slow reader).
3. Why didn’t I have enough time to focus on the reading?
– Because the demand of work and family were given priority over school assignments.
4. Why was work and family given priority over school assignments?
– Because I under estimated the amount of time I would need to spend on school assignments and time with my family after the birth of my daughter.
5. Why did I under-estimate the amount time?
– Because I thought I could do handle both activities without a problem.
6. Why did I think that I could handle both?
– Because I didn’t properly plan out going back to school.
7. Why didn’t I properly plan out going back to school?
– Because I wanted to start school as soon as possible so that I wouldn’t lose any more time.
8. Why didn’t I want to lose any more time?
– Because I wanted to move up the corporate ladder and take a management position. Having a Masters degree would assist in accomplishing that.
Countermeasure: Better short- and mid-term planning.
It’s great to see a student actually apply what they learned in the course!