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


  1. Oh boy, does this fit my work. Employees whine and gripe that our managers won’t change anything. Then, when they do, the employees whine and gripe because they say everything is always being changed. When we have meetings they just sit and doodle and if I make suggestions they make fun of me. I’m moving in a few months and I hope my next job is a little bit better.

    I love the photo!

    Comment by NR381 | November 24, 2010

  2. First, Happy Thanksgiving. Second, I would be happy if I thought my bosses put much thought into their decisions, but I’m not sure they do. I think they don’t want to rock the boat, so they don’t do much about some things. But, they want to look busy so they jack around with other things. Call me cynical.

    Comment by wiseacre | November 24, 2010

  3. This is a comment about the comment from wiseacre, but not meaning to start an argument. I don’t know about his boss, but I’m sure some people who I direct in my section think the same thing about me and say I don’t have a reason for what I do.

    I have sometimes thought about a work problem for days and even have lost sleep over trying to decide how to handle it. Or, I’ll talk to other execs and have several meetings about it. After all of that I’ve heard that employees say it was a knee jerk reaction. I don’t know anyone at my level who doesn’t put a lot of time and thought into trying to do what’s right and best. If I don’t take action it isn’t because I don’t want to rock the boat. It’s because I don’t see a reason to take action and I can see possible problems. If I do take action it isn’t just to “jack around” with something, it’s because I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s pretty discouraging to feel that misunderstood!

    Comment by Baskin Robbins | November 24, 2010

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