One of the tensions that we manage is when to stay the course and when to change things.
Our nature is to favor staying the course. Our life is filled with things we do because when we did them the first time, they worked out OK.
I think about this driving sometimes. I will choose a route to go somewhere on a routine basis. I log it in as “the way to go.” Sometimes I will ride with someone else and they take a different route. They will go a different path to the same place. I find myself wanting to correct them. “You’re going the wrong way,” I want to say. And, then I pause: “Is it the wrong way because it’s wrong or is it the wrong way because it isn’t my way?”
I back down. I realize I don’t have any facts to back me up. I haven’t measured one route versus the other. I don’t know if it is longer or shorter. I don’t know if it takes more or less time. I just know it was a way I chose once and I have made it my habit.
Do you have habits like that? Habits that are things you do that you haven’t put to the test?
Our nature is to not rock the boat. Here’s a dumb example. We recently changed the pillows on my bed at home.
As I slept with the new pillows I would toss and turn a bit. I would wake up throughout the night and say to myself, “I don’t like these new pillows.” I realized that when I traveled, a motel that I frequented had more comfortable pillows. I realized I slept better when the pillows were more comfortable.
I looked up the pillows on the internet. Apparently, many have had the same experience as I have and they sell the pillows (Hampton Inn pillows) so you can have the same experience at home.
I haven’t ordered them yet (but I will right after I send this) which makes me typical. Rather than rock the boat and act to fix something, I have chosen the passive approach of settling and not fixing something that is easily fixed.
I do this a lot. I’m guessing you might too.
Here are the points:
There are habits that we have that are worth putting to the test. They may provide us a good solution but not the best solution. Pick out one of those habits every once in awhile and test it. Try to make it better.
There are things that we put up with daily that we know aren’t the best. But, we just decide to settle rather than rock the boat. How about we attack those right away? Tell someone about them if you can’t fix them yourself. Make an effort to have it addressed. Roll up your sleeves and get after them.
PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace
Since 2005, he has been sharing his thoughts on the organization, leadership, and communication in an online daily note to teammates called Daily with HQ.