“We’ve always done it that way” is like nails on a chalkboard for me. Some people consider this phrase dangerous, I just think it’s nonsensical. There are many other ways to admit why you are doing something a certain way. You could say ‘this is the way I was shown’, or ‘this is how I think it should be done’ or ‘I’m comfortable this way’ or even ‘it’s easier this way’. But just be honest.
Why do people consider the phrase dangerous? Maybe because if you aren’t thinking about WHY you are doing something you are missing out on a chance to improve. Why would you be doing something without thinking anyway? Just because something is done one way, does not mean it HAS to be done that way. Maybe there is a better way? Maybe it doesn’t need to be done at all. Like my 5-year-old I like to ask the question: why? Why ARE you doing what you are doing?
Life is fast paced and people are busy. If there is a better, faster way of doing things, I try to find it, because honestly, there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all that could be done. I like efficiency. I like honesty. I like improvement. So, I think we need to be picky. And I need to be open to changing the way we do things. We need to improve. I know, I just blogged last week about change. People resist change. Granted, sometimes things don’t need to change. There are some very time tested things that work. I find myself quoting my parents to my children: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” (thanks mom!). She probably got those same quotes from their parents. They hold true and work. Which is why we use them. But we still need to ask the why question. Because if we don’t and if we and our employees go through our work days with the “we’ve always done it this way” attitude we will not achieve anything. We will not improve.
Winston Churchill said “the Pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The Optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” I consider myself an optimist. And I consider most days provide an opportunity to improve. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Even mistakes help teach you a lesson if you are open to seeing it.
Stay Positive. Work Hard. Make it (whatever that it is for you) happen. Your business will thank you.