Monday, October 19, 2009

Defending the way it's always been done

When you start something new, you often see with great clarity the things that are wrong or inefficient. You ask simple questions like, "why is this done this way?" or "could we just stop doing that?"

It's a tremendously valuable perspective, but it's typically not received that way. Instead, the reaction is defensive, perhaps a bit perturbed. My guess, the person doing the reacting probably agrees with your point, but it's that you've made them feel foolish. It's hard to separate the emotions from the logic.

You see, everyone prides themselves on being a strategic thinker. It's like those surveys that ask people if they have above-average intelligence. The large majority will say they do. These folks have been fighting the good fight, even if it was a little in the weeds, and today you pointed out that they're churning instead of making it simple. It's like someone just showed them the shortcut after they've used the long route for five years (or twenty). They had a reason, you know... or in '82 that option wasn't available... or it's easy to say that NOW... or we've been building to that shift for a while, let it come.

As the instigator of a broader view, however, you should gird yourself for this kind of reaction. Finding an innovation was easy. The hard part is getting through the egos and the habits to make it happen.

No comments: