We’ve Always Done it That Way by Jim Johnson

The story is told of a young newly-wed woman who was preparing a Sunday roast for her husband.  He curiously watched as she cut off one end of the roast and placed it in the pan for cooking.  He asked, “why did you just do that?” 

The new wife replied, “my mom always did it that way.”

Later, this new bride contacted her mother to inquire why she cut off the end of the roast before cooking it.  “I don’t really know, dear,” her mother responded, “I’ll have to call Grandma and ask her.  She taught me how to cook.”

A few days later, the new wife’s mother called her own mother to find out reason behind this cooking secret.  “Mom, why do you cut off the end of the roast before you cook it?” 

Grandma stated, “Oh, I did that because my roasting pan was too small to fit the whole roast in it.”

How often do we approach our work, our relationships, and our lives with this “we’ve always done it this way” mentality? Perhaps it is time to step back and ask some important questions:

  • Why do we continue to do this process in this particular way? I think there may be a more effective way to get it done.
  • What is the legacy behind this process?
  • Is it still valid to continue with this process?
  • What if…?

Unless you are dealing with a natural law (say, like gravity), you have the freedom to think, maybe break some rules, and try something new to bring about efficiencies and create better experiences for your team and your customers.

Spend time thinking about your work. It is healthy to question things from time to time. Great ideas come from intentional thinking. And from great ideas come directional, purpose-filled steps. And from these steps come action that turns your ideas into meaningful things that can positively impact your career and your company’s bottom line.

So, go ahead ask questions to get yourself out of the rut we all get so easily stuck in. And Grandma’s roast still tasted great.

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