What if that product had never been created, if each person had said, “We don’t need to improve it; it’s not broken, so why fix it?”
“Because we have always done it that way,” is a response most of us have a received in our careers, and we tend to accept this answer under the guise of picking our battles or not making waves. However, it is one of the most dangerous phrases a team can use, at the risk of potentially killing innovation, efficiency, and collaboration.
Here is a simple guideline for how to ensure you’re not forsaking innovation for tired traditions:
Change your vocabulary.
When someone asks about a process, or has an idea for a new one, don’t automatically dismiss it by saying, “but we have always done it this way.” The temporary discomfort you or your team members experience when trying a new approach could result in a modern, forward-looking, and client-centric practice that could differentiate you in the sea of sameness.
Create new habits.
Going forward, commit to thoroughly exploring every idea presented to you. It may be that the current process is the best one, but taking a moment to consider the possibilities can go a long way, not just in creating more efficient processes, but in giving your employees confidence in their voice.
Spread the message.
The change in your team will need everyone’s buy-in, which means communicating the new culture of innovation to current and new team members. Explain to your team why challenging the status quo is important to you and what you hope to achieve. You may find your team is re-energized by this new mission, which may even trickle its way to your clients.
Next time you feel yourself starting to say, “Because we have always done it that way,” resist the urge and instead consider the opportunity that lies ahead: “Because we have never done it that way!”
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