The “We’ve always done it this way” Mentality

By Ashley Dowling

Life is fluid. Even a stone doesn’t remain the same after years of time lashing out on it. It wears down from the weather. It changes in color, shape, and texture. If there’s one thing we can learn from nature it’s adapt or die.

Yet in our society, in our personal life and in our work life the idea of change comes with combativeness. It riddles us with intense anxiety as we are woe to relinquish our comfortable and contented old ways. And when change comes without an invitation, without even a knock on our doors – we are faced with the same choice’s nature faces every day from human interruption: will you adapt, or will you die?

While this philosophy might seem extreme on the surface, since you’re no dinosaur, we have to remember that entire businesses fold for their lack of adaptability, relationships crumble from one person’s change of behavior or lack thereof. Even now in a pandemic our society as we know it has been uprooted nearly overnight begging us to choose how to survive.

I’ve often been met with “we’ve always done it this way” when suggesting change and I for one see this type of mentality as an obstinate response to adaptation and even collaboration. Change doesn’t have to be hard when we work through it together, but it becomes difficult when the mountains we’re trying to move become the people that should be moving them with you.

So how do we reverse this mentality of change and our response to it without throwing caution to the wind? Perhaps we over-communicate, stay connected to each other, understand that change is the one thing that will always be a constant, and above all remain optimistic even if you don’t feel open to your traditions being shifted.

Without change we risk stagnation; we risk maximizing our potential; we risk becoming a Blockbuster in a Netflix world. There are many healthy ways to deal with change such as talking about it, devising a plan, or developing coping mechanisms. Either way, when change comes knocking on your team’s door greet it with an open mind instead of telling it, “No thanks, we’ve always done it this way.”

How do YOU manage change?


About the Author:

Ashley Dowling is a Product Manager on a mission to make the usability of software as easy as eating cake. When not immersed in the digital realm – you might find her with a ukulele in hand or a book in lap with her snoozing side-kick Elliot, (a Dalmatian/Lab).

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