You may have heard about the new wife who was making her first roast (ignore the stereotypes - it's an old story). Just before she put it into the oven, she neatly cut off a slice from each end, tossed them in the bin and put the roast into the oven. Her husband was intrigued and asked why she had done that.

"Mom taught me to do that," she replied. "She always did it but never said why. We'll have to ask her."

Mother in law was duly consulted. "Granny taught me that," was her response when asked. "She always did it with roasts she made for Sunday lunch. You'll have to ask her," Mom said.

"Granny, why did you teach Mom to cut off the two ends of the roast before putting it in the oven?" asked the newly wed of Granny when she saw her.

"Good heavens, I didn't tell your mother to do it. I used to cut off the ends of my roasts because my oven was too small and that was the only way I could get the roast into the oven," quipped Gran.

How many of us are unthinkingly cutting the ends off our roasts (often the best part), because we accept without question that the way we're doing something is the only way to do it, regardless of the fact that the landscape has shifted under our feet and that new and different factors are continually coming into play as changes in people, demands, circumstances and the environment unfold?

Repeating the inefficiencies of previous generations without question will condemn us to be prisoners of the past. Very few breakthroughs come from following the same old rules. It's the people who challenge conventional wisdom who achieve breakthroughs which benefit all humanity.

My English professor once said, "Rules are for fools, geniuses break them!"

He wasn't encouraging people to break the laws of the land nor any moral laws for that matter. What he was saying was that it's a fool who blindly follows the same old way of doing things without considering whether there are better ways of doing things. It's the genius who breaks with convention and looks at new ways of doing something.

It was Einstein who said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result.

Make a point this week of looking at your own and your company's plans, procedures and policies which have been in place for some time. Look at the way you are doing your job. Look at the way you are living your life. Are these ways still relevant and valid in their present forms and in these present circumstances? Will they serve you well into the near future? If not, start a process which enables you and all appropriate parties to discuss what should be changed and then work towards communicating and implementing the changes.

If not, you may just be trimming the ends off the roast of your and others' predecessors!

Make a change this week!

Alan Hosking
Editor: HR Future

Source: HR FUture newsletter