“So, why do we do it this way?“ if you’ve been to any of our classes you know that the most common answer to this question is one that we despise. “That’s they eat we’ve always done it.”
Just typing the phrase makes me a little angry. And the funny thing is that you may not be doing it incorrectly. You may actually be using the most effective and efficient method. But true professionals can explain the “why” behind it. The “why” is what provides credibility and defensibility to the individual, the agency, and to the profession.
But I was reading Adam Grant’s book, Think Again, recently. And it provided insight into why we keep doing things the way we’ve always done them. He referred to a phrase he called “mental misers.” This concept says that we don’t question the “why” because we (humans) are constantly trying to conserve mental capacity.
Listen, it takes work to be a professional. And it takes even more work to be a professional leader. You have to intentionally work to improve yourself. At the same time, a leader is constantly looking for the chance to improve the members of their team. Not by adding new members - but by working to improve their capabilities.
Challenging our folks to question their beliefs and actions does just this. Not allowing them to operate off year old, or 10 year old practices and information. But by having to them question themselves and you gets us closer to where we need to be.
The only time I want to hear “but that’s the way we’ve” is when it precedes “decided to do it here - by questioning everything.” Leaders do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. Be the leader.