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  • Karen Withers

Stop Saying "We've Always Done It That Way…."

One of the fastest ways to fail as a company, department or individual is using the phrase “we’ve always done it that way.” Staying stuck in old habits leads to stagnation and prohibits your organizations ability for growth.

When reviewing and creating processes with companies I always ask employees why certain procedures and tasks are performed. If there isn't a detailed answer its always a step done by repetition rather than with a purpose.

Regulations are frequently changing as are customer needs, products and technology. Employees who understand the “why” behind tasks are more efficient, more innovative, increase profitability, provide better customer service, and enable smoother succession planning.

Here are five steps to help overcome the "we've always done it this way" behavior.

  1. Show examples and suggestions. Meet with your team, acknowledge past successes then show examples of process improvements. Don't condemn traditional ways, instead provide suggestions which focus on positive aspects to increase process efficiency.

  2. Be prepared for resistance. Many people are stuck in the "if it isn't broken then don't fix it" mentality. That isn't always a bad statement but the team should acknowledge growth will not happen without change.

  3. Compromise. Don't expect to hear "that's a great idea, let's do it!" Make a plan to baby-step any process modifications. Small phased-in changes are easier to get on board with rather than ones which are quick and widespread.

  4. Schedule follow up. Don't expect immediate buy-in from your team, let them consider your ideas. Set a date to continue discussing these ideas or they will likely fall off the radar.

  5. Ask for Feedback If everyone is not on board they will hold back the entire team. Ask each person for feedback. Hearing their points of view may provide alternate ideas or expose parts of your objective they don't understand.


Companies who embrace a culture of change, are planting the seed to maximize their potential as well as each of their employees. Instead of saying "We've always done it that way" try saying "We're doing it better now!"


For more information, contact AgCultured Consulting.



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