Change What Works

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“We have always done it this way. Why change what works?”

I hear this statement and cringe. It breaks down as follows:

  • “We have always done it this way.” – Then you are not taking advantage of your opportunity to innovate. Everything can be improved upon.
  • “Why change what works?” – Because what works now was probably an alteration upon a previous solution that used to work too (although not nearly as well compared to the current version). Again, everything can be improved upon.

In order to stay competitive every organization has to challenge how things are done. The Wright brothers took on the challenge of powered flight. They did this by consistently failing after one small change at a time, and eventually the first airplane opened up the skies to us.

Did the Wright brothers stop there though? Of course not! They kept innovating and their designs kept getting better and better. Others took their work even further, and now you and a hundred other people can safely travel across an entire continent in less than half a day in modern comfort.

You know who the Wright brothers are. You know whose name you have forgotten? The guy who told Wilbur and Orville that “We have always used horses and buggies. Why change what works?”

Change what works. Experiment and question how you can make what works even better. You do not have to throw out the complete solution, but if you can improve just one small aspect of the solution you will benefit. Develop a habit for making small beneficial changes on a regular basis and eventually you will have a completely new way of doing things.

Meanwhile your competition will still be doing things the way it was always done before, and may eventually be forgotten altogether!

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