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I have been fortunate to have visited a lot of companies in my lifetime as a
consultant. I have also participated in several nonprofit groups, many of which
are well established and steep in customs and tradition. Interestingly, a lot of
these organizations operate on autopilot when it comes to executing procedures.
So much so that whenever someone suggests something new as a means of expediting
a process it is often greeted as if it were heresy. After all, "That is the way
it has always been done." I'm sure we have all heard this on more than one
occasion and is the earmark of a bureaucracy.
What I find interesting is when you run into a situation where people have
been doing things wrong for so long, they think it is right. Actually, such
situations evolve slowly over time as people are replaced by new workers who are
not properly trained or are less skilled than their predecessors. Consequently,
small changes creep into the process which corrupts it. Nonetheless, over time
it becomes a natural part of the process and is deemed as proper. If left
unchallenged, these processing anomalies become a part of the standard operating
procedure, which even though they are being performed erroneously, people tend
to steadfastly defend.
Challenging the status quo is a daunting task. As Voltaire astutely observed,
"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are
wrong." Even if you have identified a problem with an existing process or can
recommend an improved way for performing it, you will inevitably have to contend
with the wrath of the defenders of the status quo who will resist any change
whatsoever. As creatures of habit, there are a lot of people who do not embrace
change easily and treat it suspiciously. Some will even go so far as to
politically sabotage any hint of change.
As we all know, change simply for the sake of change is madness, but we
certainly would not make any progress if we didn't periodically challenge the
status quo. Change is a natural part of life which I believe many resist
unnaturally. Using the standard cop-out, "That is the way it has always been
done," is simply a lame excuse to preserve the current system. It should
therefore come as no surprise to see a lot of organizations suffering from dry
rot in their operations thereby affecting their ability to compete or serve
their customers adequately. Even though people tend to be inflexible in terms of
addressing change, we must all face the reality that if there is anything
constant in life, it is change.
About the Author
Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of
M. Bryce & Associates
(MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field.
He can be reached at
For a listing of Tim's Pet Peeves, click
Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-03-31 09:57:18 in Business Articles