Trees – Some of my favorite thinking tools

trees blog

As a coach, I frequently find myself facilitating discussions – either in root-cause-finding missions, or weighing alternatives or trying to translate ideas to action items.

I draw upon some popular thinking tools which I think have universal appeal and I would like to share those here. Hope you find application for them too…

The WHY tree

This is something I have been using in some format or the other for years now – either as 5 Whys or the Ichikawa/fishbone diagram. It is a great way to determine root causes for visible symptoms. The WHY tree that I usually draw, is similar to the Ichikawa diagram but drawn as a Tree (Go Green!).

WHY Tree


The SO tree

This is an approach I have started using more and more recently in my attempts to influence change – to help people see what could the impact of their current actions be and to try and help them discover the need for changes.

Another more common application is probably to see the impact of some significant decisions being taken on the overall system.

SO Tree


The HOW tree

While the WHY and SO trees are critical tools that I use for analysis, the HOW tree is action-oriented.

We end way too many meetings and discussions with great insights and analyses but woefully lacking in real action and outcome.

The HOW tree helps translate great ideas, thoughts and insights into action items.

HOW Tree


And to end my blog, here is an extremely fictional (and simplistic) application of these trees 😉

Fictional use