The Way Things Have Always Been Done
Is it still good enough?
I recently saw an article that has two versions of a story. A little girl and her father watch while her mother/his wife cuts the ends of a roast before putting it in the oven. Asked why she did this, the woman replied she always did it this way because her mother did it the same way. The man and his daughter questioned this and called the woman’s mother. They asked her why she cut off the ends of the roast before putting it in the oven. Her response was that her mother did it. The little girl called her grandmother who responded the same. Then the little girl called her great-grandmother and she said, because that was the only roasting pan she had that would fit the roast.
Think about what happened to Blockbuster and Kodak for not changing what they did and continued doing the same thing. (Granted Kodak put out a digital camera too early for anyone to want it.)
Have you been doing the same things for years? Is it still working? Even if it is still working, in today’s business world you must do things different from before. The change you make will be accepted by many, not liked by others, and be challenged by the few. Yet, if you want to do business from here on out, you need to change to get things done.
Think about how you respond when you hear “But We Have Always Done It This Way!” What goes through your mind? The thought process of "we've always done it this way" is the belief that if something works well, there is no reason to change. Remember the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Every business and industry has flawed systems. Just because you have not seen changes to a system in your workplace doesn’t mean that other people aren’t changing the model. The fact that the future looks different than today certainly isn’t news to anyone. We can see the changes happening in every corner of our personal and professional lives.
Whatever that mark of success may be, it involves positive change. To be successful, you must question everything and never allow the mindset… “Because That’s The Way It’s Always Been” to rule.
Just because something has “always” been done a certain way doesn’t mean that it still works. Leaders must constantly question their established systems and seek ways to improve.
“We’ve Always Done It That Way” is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, ever a good reason for taking some action or performing some process at work (or at home, for that matter). Learning to do things differently is how many people experience other ways of getting things done.
“Just because something has been done a certain way doesn’t mean it has to continue…” ~ Sum Gigante
In a world where technology is constantly changing and advancing, it is detrimental to be left behind. In the past, changes in technology were slow, an advancement here or there.
How many times have you heard the phrase, “It’s always been done like this”, or something similar? Too many, I’m sure. With the era of digital and innovative ideas, it’s time for that phrase to be archived or maybe even put in the Smithsonian.
When employees are comfortable at what they are doing and how they are doing it, you don’t recognize that there are better ways to get the same work done more effectively, more efficiently, and more productively.
Letting Fear Control You
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” ~ Stephen Hawking
One of the most difficult things to navigate is change. The old ways are comfortable for many people, especially when they still work just fine. Change is difficult for many people. One old saying is that change is the only constant in your life.
Take time to listen and understand why it is that things have always been done the same way all the time. Understanding other ways allows you to choose which way can be the advantage when completing a task. It is truly astounding how people can embrace doing things the way they have always been done without contemplating where and when the original decisions were made. We just accept a pre-existing mindset because it is the path of least resistance.
People who fight to maintain the status quo fear change, losing status, or losing the perception of how to get things done better. Shifts in every facet of how you work, engage, compete, and measure mean that the way things have always been done can no longer support a sustainable anything for anyone.
Breaking the Status Quo
“Progress and growth are impossible if you always do things the way you've always done things.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Chances are, if you are operating your business the way you have been for years just because “you’ve always done it that way,” you’re missing out on incredible opportunities—increased profits. If you continue to have bad practice management habits, you are wasting time, and missing out on immense potential.
“Because that is the way it’s always been done.” This phrase does not go with the times that are changing so rapidly. As a leader who is supposed to lead, set the expectations and organizational structure, and be the foundation during times of change and crisis. Doing things the same way as you’ve always done them demonstrates that you are not progressive.
There is a status quo that you need to break out of to get greater things done differently than before. There are companies that “innovate,” and create a new model for doing business. As the business world has been changing, so should you to do business in a new way. You can still have the great customer service for which you are known.
While advancements in technology give you expansive new capabilities, they cannot by themselves create the way it will be done. The solution is far less about the technology, and far more about how and why they are being used, who is using them, and how effectively they are being used.
Re-Frame That Is the Way It’s Always Been Done
“I'm drawn to unusual, even freakish people. Why? They are far more engaging than the ordinary, which the world has too much of.” ~ Donna Lynn Hope
Doing things differently is not necessarily because you think there was anything wrong with the way things had always been done, but because you want to try new and different ways of doing things, because you believe there are new and different ways of doing things. How would you re-frame “That’s the Way It’s Always Been Done” to create better ways to get work done to compete with others?
“A loser says that's the way it's always been done. A winner says there ought to be a better way.” ~ Sydney J. Harris
There’s no question that it’s easy to slip into this mindset and get comfortable with it. Falling back into what you’re used to can be very easy to do. Are you using the most up-to-date thinking for the new innovative ideas you have? That’s a key question most people don’t think of. Is it time you do?