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Generation WHY?

You can’t tell Generation Y to do something without explaining why. I had no idea how long this idea has been in the public domain but I had never come across the saying before.  Brilliant!

It reminded me of this wonderful anecdotal story that demonstrates how the 5 Whys works with problem solving.

The Washington Monument was disintegrating.

Why? because of the harsh chemicals needed to clean it.
Why? because there is an inordinate amount of pigeon poop being … well pooped
Why? are there so many pooping pigeons at THAT monument? Because they eat spiders and there are many spiders there.
Why? are there so many spiders? Because they eat gnats and there are lots of gnats at the monument
Why? so are there so many gnats? Because they are attracted to the light when dusk falls.

And so? Maybe we turn on the lights at a later time?

This also leads to the importance of because.  The word because gives an answer as to the why someone might do something.

This is especially important in the sales process. Not only does recognising why something is important to the buyer, sometimes it helps to articulate why the sale is important to you, the seller.  People like to be of service, to help or to solve other’s problem, so suggesting the purchase of something (they would like) would also put the beans on your toast, whilst amusing is also compelling.


PS.  Long may Generation Y be curious.


  1. I don’t know what generation my kids would be classed as… but the word ‘WHY’ is now something I avoid at all costs 🙂 I try hard to not use “just because it is” in response, but sometimes life is just tooooo short!


  2. Great blog. Think your point about giving a reason to buy from the seller would be particularly pertinent to buying from charities/social enterprises etc eg buy something from the RNLI shop and help raise money to build more lifeboats/save more lives at sea. Not sure I would be so compelled to buy for instance from a big supermarket chain though if they made it clear that doing so would make them more profitable!


  3. Good point Suzy. I think the whole shareholder issue is another blog post in its own right. The principle that cooperatives work towards ‘could’ be a nice alternative?


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