Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Flavor Of The Month Or Tried And True?

Make Up Your Mind

One of the most frequently heard criticisms about decision-makers in organizations is that they won’t change something because, “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”  I have five books about that concept.

Another common criticism, aimed at decision-makers who have instituted a new process or program, is something like, (Heavy sigh) “That’s the new flavor of the month.”  (Rolled eyes.)  I just finished reading three books with “flavor of the month” in their titles, and all were focused on that issue.

Both criticisms may be justified. However, for some people they are merely generic gripes that are appealing because of their succinct mockery.  Many people do not attempt to understand what might be behind a decision and they assume the worst possible motivation for it. They don’t consider any perspective but their own, even though there are usually several valid perspectives.

• If a procedure doesn’t work as well as expected, should it be retained to avoid the impression it was a flavor of the month?
• If a procedure has been working well, should it be changed to avoid seeming to be stuck in the past?
• Should we routinely revise or replace a successful process to show we’re open to change?
• Should we stick with a new process that is not working well, so we don’t seem to be changing things too often?
• Should we reject something as being a fad, even though it might be a helpful new method?
• Should we replace a long-standing, successful method because we want to be on the cutting edge of change?

The bottom line: Sometimes the flavor of the month is a good one and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes we should stop doing what we’ve always done and sometimes we should steadfastly stick with it. Whatever we do, we should analyze the totality of the situation before we make a decision–or before we make a hackneyed, unreasoning criticism.

November 24th, 2010 Posted by | Keeping On!, Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development | 3 comments