You may have heard the story of the daughter who was watching her mom prepare a ham for a holiday meal.
She asked, “Why do you always cut off the end of the ham before baking it?”
Perhaps it was to allow the marinade to soak into the meat, enhancing its flavor. Or maybe in created a little extra browning on the end.
Her mom replied, “Well, I don’t know. That’s the way your grandmother always did it, so I just do what she did.”
Later that night, the young woman asked her grandmother, “Grandma, why do you and Mama always cut off the end of the ham before putting it in the oven?”
Grandma replied, “Well, I don’t know about your mom, but I don’t have a pan big enough to fit a whole ham.”
According to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, “The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way.’”
Whether you are training a new hire or reestablishing new rhythms after returning to the office, now is the perfect time to take a fresh look at the way you’ve always done things.
In some cases, you can tweak your environment to get a new perspective. For example, try sitting where your client usually sits, change the font on your phone, or even stand on your chair or lie on the ground.
You can also ask questions that start with “Why,” “How,” or “What if…”
It can be even more beneficial to get someone else’s opinion:
- If you have new employees, regularly encourage them to ask questions and challenge assumptions.
- You can ask a spouse or trusted friend to share their perspective.
- Ask a coach or advisor for their thoughts and guidance.
Just because it’s the way you’ve always done it doesn’t mean it’s the right way!