Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 2 December 1804 by Jacques-Louis David (Wikipedia - public domain)

Have you ever questioned a process that makes no sense to you?

Maybe you're looking at a colleague struggling with something—or even worse, they're doing it mindlessly—and you ask, "why are you doing it like that?"

And they shrug and say, "That's the way we've always done it."

Hey, I get the importance of tradition, particularly in families. There are certain rituals we'll perform because that's what we grew up knowing. It's why some families still serve cranberry sauce as a cylindrical column of semi-solid jelly out of a can on Thanksgiving, or why the green bean casserole is still a thing.

We've always done it that way.

There's another aspect to this too: it's easy.

Of course you'll still buy the same cream of mushroom soup, fried onion straws, and green beans: it's programmed into your memory. Why look up a new method of making your own cranberry sauce that's even tastier? It's too much work.

If you keep mindlessly following a process without questioning it—without testing newer, better alternatives—you're going to find that your company is ripe for disruption.

Are you talking to new people? Are you reading different things than your colleagues and bringing them fresh perspectives? Are you listening to customers? Are you observing what successful businesses from outside your industry are doing?

In short, are you trying to innovate? I mean earnestly trying to innovate?

Is the way you've always done it the best way?

If not, you may find that there won't be anyone left to share your easy but tired recipes.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." 
– William James

Or to put it another way:

Repetition without rigorous reasoning is ridiculous.

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