Kicking A Workplace Tradition To The Curb
There’s a story of tradition that goes like this:
A little girl observes her mother cutting the ends off of a roast before placing the pan in the oven. She asks her mom why she does it, and her mother replies “Because your grandmother always used to.” A few days later, while at her grandmother’s, the little girl asks why she cuts the ends off of her roast. Her grandmother answers “It was what your great-grandmother always did.” A few days later the girl, visiting her aged great-grandmother, asks her why she cut the ends off of her roast. “I had to, child, the pan was too small.”
Does this story make you think of the infamous “Because we’ve always done it this way” statement? How many workplaces have been held hostage by the limiting power of this thinking? Does this phrase get repeated so often it sounds like a bad script?
If your organization is in this position, it’s time to kick it to the curb, and replace “we’ve always done this” with faster more effective thinking, processes.
“We’ve always done it this way” holds teams back because:
- Anything else challenges status quo, which is a false sense of security
- Keeps efforts, discomfort, and disruption to a minimum
- Stifles innovation and creativity
- Gives a convenient excuse for not trying
- Is not so much a safety net as it is a snare
If you want to accelerate progress and team development, you need to lead your team, and yourself, out of this rut. Burn the script and write a new one!
Here are some strategies for kicking “we’ve always done it this way” to the curb:
- Remind your team of it’s vision, values, and mission; preach and expound on it daily
- Build credibility that you’re committed to the same
- Use that credibility to let your people know “trust me, this will work” as new changes are incorporated
- Tell your folks there is no turning back, that you’re cutting the chords of the old ways to make new exciting ways for their work to mean more
- Train your people properly, thoroughly, and let good habits and systems replace outmoded ones
- Praise the new behaviors and thinking, and ask them how these new methods feel
- Ask them to be open in their feedback as you work towards tweaking the new procedures
Destinations can only be arrived at when you leave your home. Goals are achieved by embarking on a plan towards action. Progress in a changing world is only attained when we leave our security and pursue the unknown, but envisioned, future.
Kick the bad tradition to the curb. Burn the bridges. Once your team is free from a mentality that holds it back, watch them accelerate towards their goals!!