For you, new and popular

An edit of newly added resources and those proving consistently popular among our partners' teams.
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Raul Aparici on mitigating impostor syndrome
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Kate and Catherine on pausing, for conversational space
Video
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Kate and Catherine on intentional listening
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Kate and Catherine on questioning well
Video
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Worksheet: Time Blocking
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Kate and Catherine on the coaching opportunity
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Matteo's coaching reflections
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Kas's reflections on listening and questioning well
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Time Blocking, and bringing some colour into your calendar
Video
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Worksheet: Owning Feedback
Worksheet
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Making the case for situational flexibility as leaders
Video
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eCourse: Difficult Conversations
eCourse
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Mentors, Sponsors and Champions. With Abi Adamson
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Effective Allyship. With Abi Adamson
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What's your Privilege Pledge? With Abi Adamson
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Diversify your feed. With Abi Adamson
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Privilege reflections. With Abi Adamson
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Mindful toothbrushing. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Anchor dropping. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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5,4,3,2,1 — a mindfulness technique. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Urge surfing. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Everyday mindfulness. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Making room for emotions (and the weather). With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Letting go of emotions. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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How do you notice your thoughts? With Dr. Sam Akbar
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A coaching conversation around strengths
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eCourse: Confidence Mastery
eCourse
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Daniel Goleman's Six Leadership Styles, explained by Louise Hedges
Video
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eCourse: Mastering Delegation
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eCourse: Time Management and Prioritisation
eCourse
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eCourse: Get SET with your Goals
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Perspectives on privilege, with Abi Adamson
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Neurodivergent Perspectives Lexi Keegan in conversation with Dr Anne Cockayne low
Neurodivergent Perspectives. Lexi Keegan in conversation with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Neurodiversity know-how: The Spiky Profile explained
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Neurodiversity explained, with Dr. Anne Cockayne
Video
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Neuroinclusion at work: Thinking about adjustments
Video
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Neurodiversity know-how. Autism with Dr. Anne Cockayne
Video
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Neurodiversity know-how. ADHD with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Neurodiversity know-how. Dyslexia with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Rest
Micro-learning: Setting Better Boundaries
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eCourse: Practicing a Coaching Approach
Meetings
Finding fortitude, and follow on experiments
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eCourse: Conscious Inclusion
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Seven things to avoid when writing at work
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Share genuinely useful feedback with the BID model
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Solve problems before they happen with pre-mortems
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Five tactics for influencing those more senior
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Five powerful questions for adding impact and insight to your next interview.
Car Words
Try out the CAR technique, and upgrade your understanding when interviewing someone.
Good Qs
Smart ways to frame questions in your next mentoring session
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Try the 5 Whys to invigorate your problem solving and add depth to your decisions.
Allyship CP
Course Pack: Effective Allyship, with Abi Adamson
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Course Pack: Voice Gym. Building your vocal confidence
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A three minute mindset exercise, to support a coaching approach
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Try this deep listening exercise for deeper connection and better conversations
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Experiment with the BRAIN model for confident decision making and problem solving
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Discover the impact a five minute favour can have on your relationships, and network building
Homework
Homework for Life: A ten-second daily ritual for noticing, capturing and practicing stories
LWS
Course Pack: Storytelling
Do Story
Practical storytelling principles from Bobette Buster's book — Do: Story
Mentorsqarer
Evolve your 'inner mentor' — a short reflective exercise to focus your development, and the ways you can better support others
Spring
Experiment with a Springboard Story to communicate your change idea, and take people with you towards it.
N Ngrab
Course Pack: Natural Networking
TP
Tone Policing - What it is, why it's unhelpful and how to helpfully notice it.
Coaching Criticism
Find the Coaching in Criticism. Things to try when feedback doesn't quite land
4 Ds
The 4Ds. A practical framework for acknowledging microaggressions
Breathman
Mindful breathing — the foundation of focus and flow
Fly
Channel that fly on the wall. Try some purposeful self talk to mitigate moments of doubt
Friction
Add some friction to your most common distractions
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Build belief by recognising small wins — Try a 'Done List'
Silent Meeting
Make your next meeting a Silent Meeting
Can If Go
Immediately build your confidence, with a 'Can-If' statement
To Think
Don't forget to diarise thinking time — experiment with a 'To Think' list
Setback
Smarten your approach to setbacks, by trying out a Setback Story
CLAP
Get clear on control with a Clarity Clap
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Everything I Know about Life I Learned from PowerPoint — What we learned and where it led...
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How to be a meaningful mentor, insights from a purposeful podcast
If Then New
Design (and share) your If > Then statements, for a purposefully prompt towards action
Orange
Practice the principles of persuasion from 'Godfather of Influence,' Robert Cialdini.
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Six steps for finding focus and flow, with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in mind
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Course Pack: Making Time
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Great questions to ask in coaching conversations, 1-1's and other curious contexts

Try the 5 Whys to invigorate your problem solving and add depth to your decisions.

A simple and effective framework for collectively identifying the root causes of a problem, exposing aspects you may have overlooked, and making up your mind about what to act on.
5 W
'If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.'
Albert Einstein

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota have made a lot of changes since their founding in 1933 - hell, they didn’t even use seatbelts until 63’. But one clever framework for solving problems and making decisions, created by founder/inventor Sakichi Toyoda, has been a mainstay since day one - the 5 Whys. It links nicely into the concept of ‘Kaizen’ coined at the firm to encourage a culture of continual improvement.

The 5 whys is super simple. Whenever you’re faced with a problem or setback, ask why that problem has happened five times in sequence. With each why, you’ll find you’re getting closer to the root causes of a problem, and building counter-measures and solutions simultaneously.

Let’s take a look at how the 5 whys work.

Simple steps to follow

1
Assemble a team

Toyota have a ‘go and see’ philosophy, meaning analysis of the problem and the decision making following it is only effective when people with first hand experience are involved. So, when running through the 5 whys, make sure it’s with people who know their stuff in relation to the challenge you’re going to dig into.

2
Get some supplies

You want to be able to work through the 5 whys visually, so gather around a whiteboard (virtual or physical) or grab some post-its/index cards and pens.

3
State the problem

As an example, we’ll use ‘Junior members of the team are feeling demotivated.’ When you have talked amongst your team and defined what the problem is, write it down, leaving enough space around it to accommodate your 5 whys.

4
Ask your first ‘why?’

Ask your team why this problem is happening, or ‘why are junior members of the team feeling demotivated?’ It sounds simple, but it does require a little bit of brainstorming and soul searching. Be patient, ask questions, and the answer will come.

When you have found your answer, write it down beside the problem. For the example above, the first ‘why?’ might be ‘because they’re not getting a chance to contribute and have their work recognised in client meetings.’

5
Ask ‘why?’ four more times

For each step, ask another ‘why?’ based on the answer you reached. ‘Why are they not getting a chance to contribute and have their work recognised in client meetings?’

Brainstorm again, find a new answer, and write it down. For our example, the second ‘why?’ might be ‘because senior team members own the agenda and do all the talking.’

Now keep going. ‘Why do senior team members own the agenda and do all the talking?’

Because senior team members have earlier contact and relationships with new clients.

Why?

Because they have confidence and context to deal with earlier challenges.

Why?

Experience, and because they've been through the company's academy training programme but juniors haven't.

6
Address the root cause

Your fifth ‘why?’ is the root cause of the problem, and it’s what needs correcting to fix the problem at hand. Talk amongst the team about solutions and counter-measures to this root cause.

The root cause of the fifth ‘why?’ above was ‘Junior team members have no client facing training.’

The solution? Provide soft skills training for junior team members.

7
Measure

Find a metric to gauge the success of your solution. Has it worked? Has it not? Were there hidden benefits or has it kicked up new problems? If the problem returns, then return to the 5 why’s.

Persist!

👉 The 5 whys can be a tricky, and at times frustrating, tool to master. And you can sometimes feel stuck or ‘dead-ended’. Persistence is key, and many super-users of the tool recommend running through it a number of times around the same challenge. Ultimately, what it does brilliantly is uncover things that may have gone overlooked; revealing starting points for improvement both large and small.

Keen for more?

You might find this Miro board handy, with a 5 whys template and another example of the tool in action.

Try the Six Thinking Hats or sign up for our Team Tools workshop for more collaborative problem solving tools.

Use the B.R.A.I.N. model for quick decision making.

Take a look at our conversation with Amazing If’s Sarah Ellis ; a treasure trove of work tips and tricks.

More Resources