Recently, Old Taskmaster warned you about the dangers of industry bubbles.
When you’re trapped inside the bubble of an industry, it can sometimes become difficult to see the outside world.
But how do you know for certain you’re stuck in the bubble of an industry?
The smoking gun comes when someone in your office says “that’s not how we do things around here” or “that’s not how the industry works!”
No phrases in the history of mankind have been more destructive of good ideas – be they in the form of customer feedback or internal suggestions – than these two phrases.
Sure, from time to time they are used to knock back stupid, dangerous or unviable ideas. But those bad ideas qualify as bad ideas on their own merit. They have their own separate justifications for making them bad or dangerous ideas. No need to appeal to the status quo.
Similarly, if they are being used to justify a worthy process or product, that process or product should surely be able to be justified on some grounds or merits other than the status quo.
Far more often, these phrases are the lazy excuse for a wasteful process that is being maintained to keep a process, procedure, layer of bureaucracy or middleman around which, in turn, keeps someone (or a group of people) in a job.
For obvious reason, maintaining the status quo is very important to people whose jobs depend on it.
So when you hear someone use that phrase, put them on the spot and ask “why”?
Similarly, if you ever catch yourself using that phrase, please get some antiseptic mouthwash and thoroughly wash your mouth out. Then immediately review whatever it was you justified on the grounds it’s the status quo and compare it to several alternatives.
In fact, it’s time to ban these phrases being used at all in your building. Send out an email to all your staff making it clear these phrases are banned.
After all, innovation stands no chance if an appeal to the status quo is enough to stop it.
Get it done – today!