A newly married couple was beginning their first Sunday meal together. The young woman began preparing a wonderful roast of beef while the man was preparing the vegetables. As they worked, the man noticed that the wife sliced off both ends of the roast and then rolled it in spiced flour. Curious, he questioned her, “Why did you do that?” “Do what?” she asked. “Slice the
ends off the roast,” he responded, “Does that make it juicier or something?”
“Well, I don’t really know. Mom always does that when she cooks a roast.”
So they called her mother and were amused to hear that she also didn’t know why the ends should be cut off the roast. It turns out it was because “your Grandmother always did that and so I do too.”
Of course they called Grandmother and heard a hearty laugh when they asked her “why do we always cut the ends off the roast of beef before cooking it?” After Grandmother got control of her laughter, she exclaimed, “I can’t believe you guys are doing that! The only reason I did that in the early years is because your Grandfather and I had only one roasting pan and it was too small for a roast big enough to feed us all.”
We've Always Done It That Way
How many things are we doing in our businesses that are no longer necessary, no longer efficiently done or are downright damaging to our processes because “that’s the way we’ve always done it?” Do you have a practice of reviewing all your processes from time-to-time to make sure that they are needed, effective and efficient?
Stop, Start, Continue
Here’s something to consider in both your personal and business life. Implement a practice of annually or twice a year sitting down and thinking about what you will “Stop,” “Start,” and “Continue” doing from that point forward. Pay special attention to what you will stop doing. Your employees will fight this practice since they worry that if they don’t have to do something, then you don’t need them. Especially now, with the reduction in force that most companies have experienced, it is critical that we unburden the remaining employees by making it mandatory that they find tasks they can stop doing without jeopardizing customer service.
Be Circumspect About Start
Be stingy about what you decide to start doing. Make sure the new tasks are goal-achieving, effective and integrated efficiently with the rest of the system. And celebrate what you decide to continue doing – that means (hopefully) that those tasks are critical to success, effective and efficient.