Does this sound familiar? How many times have you heard within your organization a member of management or an employee tell you that a new idea won’t work because it is not the way we do things around here?
I read several HR related blogs on a daily basis, and the other day the HR Capitalist posted a blog entry with the above title (http://www.hrcapitalist.com/2011/06/nsfw-hr-but-kris-thats-the-way-weve-always-done-it.htm)which discussed this very issue.
As a human resource strategist we respect the past way we have done things. We recognize the value in what those procedures brought to the playing field. However times change and we need to begin to think out of our silos that we typically find ourselves in. I have a business friend who if he had just resorted to the title of this piece he may very well not be with us today. His name is Ed Hubbard (Colonel USAF Retired) who during another time had the chance to spend 2420 days in Hanoi Hilton as a guest of the North Viet Namese back in 1966-1973. If he followed silo thinking there very well may have been no reason to believe in the future.
Our organizations today are very much like Ed’s prison cell. We confine ourselves to certain ways of doing things. We do so because some executive suggested that you change your procedures to match this great idea. The source of the idea may be a book he /she read, a suggestion that arose out of a seminar somewhere or even just out of the conversation between two management peers. If you press the organization on the whys for doing it the response is the title of this piece.
If we want to thrive in this new global workplace it is critical that we follow Ed Hubbard and escape from the box of our thinking. We need to escape from the narrow view we see our organizations in. We need to take an escape from the box attitude towards how we treat the human capital of our organizations. We need to throw away the silo thinking when we secure and develop the talent within our organizations. We need to be willing to adopt a mission that says that every process can be improved and needs to be done so consistently. This may be once a year or it may be once every three months.It really does not matter the frequency. What counts is the understanding that if we see a problem with our processes we fix it. We do not forgo the improvement because the old system is the way we have always done it.