When we’re trying to get to the root of a problem at work, we like to employ the “Five Whys“. Somebody just keeps asking why about five times and it’s amazing what you can discover. You get past the obvious problem and blow through the excuse to find something that might actually be addressable to prevent it in the future.
If you have a two year old, you probably wish it stopped at five. Elijah is a master of the five (or 500) whys. I know I did the same thing when I was young and I try really hard to answer him legitimately. I want to cultivate his curious mind, but wow, it can be a trying ordeal to hear why over and over and over again. On the flip side, it leads to some intersting, albeit one-sided, discussions.