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‘Because…we’ve always done it that way’

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

‘Because…we’ve always done it that way’ is not an answer. It is, however, a sure way to cripple innovation and a proactive working culture in your organisation.

Innovation is everywhere. The rate of change is getting exponentially faster. Now more than ever, organisations must innovate and evolve, in order to survive and keep up with the expected speed to market.

People should see the positives in innovation and view change as an exciting opportunity to learn, grow and prosper. Not only is this an advancement for the company, it’s an added bonus for those willing to come along on the innovation ride, providing opportunities for learning and career development.

As humans, we have a remarkable capability to change, grow and evolve - but change can be frightening. Reluctance to embracing change can breed a climate of resistance and hostility.

The research says…

Countless studies show that facts alone won’t change a person’s mind if they are resistant to an idea or belief. One researcher remarked that even when “their beliefs have been totally refuted; people fail to make appropriate revisions in those beliefs ”.

All aboard the change train!! Tips for leaders to engage their teams with change

Resistance is an common response to change.

It is important to talk with your team about the vision of what these essential (or non-essential) changes can mean to them personally. Providing opportunities for everyone to discuss and reflect are critical in driving transformation and coping with change, at both a personal and organisational level.

The key actions for leaders to help staff triumph their fears and drive cooperation across all levels of the business point to;

· Leaders taking the time to actively listen and provide genuine empathy to their staff,

· Leaders providing safe platforms for timely discussion,

· Leaders taking on feedback and providing feedback in a meaningful way and,

· Leaders recognising and celebrating good work that was completed under the old system.

Acknowledge the past, when looking to the future

In an effort to "sell" the change, it’s easy for leaders to dismiss or minimise any successes of the past. This may leave long-standing employees feeling unappreciated or demoralised.

Recognising how they were able to accomplish so much under the previous system is more likely to leave them open to engaging in change.

WHY have we always done it this way…

So the next time you hear someone say, ‘we’ve always done it this way’, use it as an opportunity to ask why.

There might be a very valid reason that something is done a certain way (even if it is not the most efficient or people-friendly way… this usually has to do with compliance and other boring things).

But it is still a chance to ask, listen, discuss and collaborate about why it is done this way – and whether there are ways to improve. Whether that be the process, the output, the feedback loops… anything and everything.

Fostering an environment that is open to discussion, change, innovations and experimentation breeds a more productive and engaged workforce who are more open to not just accepting change, but embracing and owning change.

When we get this right, organisations, culture and people thrive.

Written by Donna Rose, CFO, Itch

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