That’s The Way It’s Always Been Done

The best way to do things is not the way you’ve always done them.

In fact, continuing to do things the same old way can hold you back from moving forward.

People are naturally curious. We are built to be innovators.

We should challenge the status quo often, not for the sake of challenge, but in order to be sure that we are doing things the best and most productive way possible.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a proper system and process, but only when it’s effective and efficient.

In consulting, one of the very first things I do when evaluating a business’s operations is I break down their systems and processes.

I look at them from every angle to see where there may be breakdowns that can be fixed, what they’re doing right, and what steps need to be added or deleted in order to make the operation run smoother.

The first thing I want to decide is if the system is effective and does it provide the desired outcome. If it’s not effective, then why continue to do it the same way over and over?

Once it’s proven effective, I then look to see how it can be modified to become more efficient without losing any of the original effectiveness.

The difficult part is never really figuring out what needs to change; the difficult part is convincing the people involved that change is necessary. Why? Because people get real comfortable doing things the way they have always been done.

I heard a preacher tell a story that illustrates this point.

There was a young woman who had only been married for a few months. She wanted to fix her husband a roast for dinner. She bought a beautiful roast and began to prepare it just like her mother had always done it.

She let the roast rest, then seasoned the outside appropriately and just before she placed the roast in the oven she took a large knife and proceeded to cut about an inch or so off of both ends. She placed the roast in the oven and slowly cooked it to perfection.

While they were eating, her newlywed husband, not knowing any better, questioned her as to why she cut the inch or so off of both ends. This caused the woman to sit back and think. She replied, “I have no idea, that’s the way my mother always did it when I was a child.”

So she called her mother and asked her why she cut the ends off of the roast before the placed it in the oven. Her mother thought about it for a minute, and said, “You know, I have no idea why, it’s just the way I saw my mother do it, so I just followed suit.”

The woman was now really curious, so she picked the phone up again and called her grandmother. She told her grandma how she had prepared the roast and that her husband asked about the ritual of cutting off the ends before placing the roast in the oven.

She told her she had asked her mother, but her mother didn’t know why and only did it that way because she had seen her mother do it. After hearing the young woman’s story, the grandmother burst into laughter.

Once she had calmed down enough to speak she replied, “Darling, the reason I cut the ends of off the roast when your mother was young is quite simple. You see, back then my oven was so small that a full size roast wouldn’t fit, and I had to remove the ends so it would.”

The moral of that story is simple — what makes sense for someone else, isn’t always best for you.

You need to look at the situation you are in right now and ask yourself if you are doing what’s best for you and the world around you, or are you doing what you’ve always done because that’s the way it’s always been done.

Step back today and look at the way you do things. Challenge the status quo, make sure you’re doing things the most effective and efficient way possible and LIVE LIFE!

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