“That’s just the way we do things.”  How often do you or your employees repeat this?  

If you’re being honest, you’ll probably admit that you think or say it quite often. Most of us are hesitant to change things up, sometimes feel that way too. Let’s be honest, change can be scary.

The problem is that if you do things the way that you’ve always done them, you’re going to get the same results that you’ve always gotten.

Settling for the status quo means doing business just like everyone else – never taking the lead, never innovating, and never differentiating yourself from the competition.

Apple became a dominant brand because they weren’t satisfied with the status quo.  When they developed their breakthrough iPhone prototype several years ago, they did it specifically because they were unhappy with the current smart phones that existed on the market.

I’ve worked with clients who had struggled with particular challenges for years – banging their heads into the wall over and over again. In most cases, the breakthrough finally occurred when they challenged their assumptions and were willing to buck the status quo. Looking back, they usually say “I wish I had thought of that years ago!”

Oftentimes, managers and business owners use “that’s just the way we do things” as a defense mechanism to avoid change.  Change takes time and effort and it can be scary.

Lower your defenses. When an employee or a customer points out inefficiency or an opportunity, don’t dismiss it.  In many cases, you will discover that there is a perfectly good reason to do things the way that you do and you will determine that change is unnecessary.

But every once in awhile, you will discover a golden opportunity to innovate and gain an advantage in your market.  This can be true in every aspect of your business—the product or service you offer to your customers, your management structure, routine workplace procedures, even your accounting system.  Change for the sake of change alone is counterproductive, but refusing to examine your reasons for doing things dooms your business to mediocrity.

Be honest – is your organization captive to the status quo? Or have you been willing to think outside the box and innovate when the situation calls for it? Leave a comment and share your experience and please, share any tips, tricks, or lessons you’ve learned along the way!