BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT
– Who is defending the status quo in your business? Are they right?
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.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at email@example.com
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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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