One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing someone use the excuse “I have been doing it that way for years”. I am confident you have heard this at some point during your professional or personal life.
In our business, variations we hear are “we have had the same accountant for years” or “we have been handling our financials that way since we started”. Not only am I confident that you have heard something like this before, I am also fairly confident that you have used this excuse at some point as well! (I know I have).
I want to discuss with you why this is a dangerous mentality and ways in which you you can fix it.
First I want to tell you a quick story. I am a huge eagles fan. When I was back in high school/college, the Eagles were very good. We went to multiple NFC championship games and one super bowl. However, as fans, we got to a point where anything short of a super bowl victory was a failure. Many people outside of Philadelphia told us to continue doing what we were doing because we were so “successful” but clearly we did not have the right formula to win it all. It took a complete overhaul of the organization to finally reach our goal a few seasons ago. If we had simply stuck with what “worked” we probably would have never gotten there.
Business owners make this same mistake all the time. They think because they have been in business for years that they are doing everything right. Part of that statement might be true but chances are they are not maximizing their potential because they have settled for the convenient.
The question I would ask is this: do you want to win a bunch of games or do you want to win the super bowl? If things could be done better, why not do that?
The one thing that I have found to overcome this mindset is to ask questions and listen.
I have found this excuse is used mainly because not enough thought has been put into a particular topic or area. The way to combat this is to ask questions and listen carefully. This could be asking your employees, partners, outside influences, friends, family, etc. And the key is to be honest with yourself when you hear the answers. Don’t just shut them down because you don’t like what you hear.
I want to challenge you this week to take something in your business or your life that you have been doing for a long time and see if there is a better way you could be doing it. Be real and honest with yourself. You may find that the way you have been doing it for years is exactly how it should be done. If that’s the case, awesome! But you will never find out if you don’t look. I promise there are things that you could be doing better. Be real, be vulnerable and it could change your business or your life.
Have a great weekend.