Ask why
August 12, 2020


To the editor:

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide standards body that ensures the consistent delivery of high-quality services and products to customers through their "ISO Certification Process." The primary tenet of any ISO certified organization is that the "Top Management" (typically the CEO or President) is fully responsible for the business outcomes, good or bad. ISO requires these organizations to develop and use metrics to track their performance and to report performance results to their "Registrar" (Accredited Certification Body) on a yearly minimum basis. The Registrar meets with the CEO or President to review the metrics and determine what needs to be done to improve the business. Changes are formally implemented in writing as part of the metrics. All business deficiencies are owned by the CEO or President -- they are completely responsible. Elon Musk is an excellent example of a CEO who takes complete responsibility for his companies' performance.

Similarly, as our President, Donald Trump, is responsible for what happens to this country, both good and bad. And yet, he is always quick to blame others when bad things happen to the United States. He blames China for the COVID virus instead of listening to the medical experts and taking the appropriate action to mitigate its effects. He blames rioters instead of understanding that his lack of leadership is responsible for the continued police homicide of Black people thus resulting in a wave of long-overdue protests. Trump blames the mail-in voting system for potential voting fraud that may negatively affect his re-election. These are just a few examples of Trump's "Blaming Persona."

In her recent book, "Too Much and Never Enough," Mary Trump wrote: "Donald's talent for deflecting responsibility while projecting blame onto others came straight from his father's playbook."

The key takeaway is that Trump never takes responsibility for problems that are directly caused by his atrocious leadership. Great leaders focus on problem solving, not blaming others. Trump simply does not have the ability to focus on problem solving.

An excellent problem-solving tool is the "Five Whys." Take a problem statement and ask "Why?" This will prompt an answer and take you to the next "Why?" Keep asking 'Why?" until you cannot ask again. This will provide the "Root Cause" of the problem. This may take more than five "Why?" iterations.

An example of the "Five Whys;"

Q: Why is the US COVID rate rising?

A: Because the President ignored his medical experts' advice.

Q: Why?

A: Because the President thinks he knows better that the experts.

Q: Why?

A: Because the President suffers from the Dunning-Kruger effect. (the more incompetent you are the less you are aware of your incompetence)

Q: Why?

A: Because the President's father, Fred Trump, did not teach Donald the importance of competence.

Q: Why?

A: Fred valued loyalty over competence, or other valuable attributes.

Q: Why?

A: Fred Trump wanted Donald to do his real estate dirty work without question.

Q: Why?

A: Fred Trump was a dictator and ruled his family with an iron fist.

Q: Why?

As you see, asking "Why" can continue for quite some time. Fred Trump molded Donald into someone who would comply with his requests because he knew Donald valued his acceptance more than anything. Donald was Fred's "Yes Man." This is why Donald demands blind loyalty from "Yes Men and Women" over everything else. This is why, as viewed through the lens of objective clarity, that our President is responsible for the root cause of our continued social problems.

Paul Kiefner

Cape Coral


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