“But That’s the Way It’s Done”

Part of my work with clients involves helping them see the things they do that don’t make sense. There are lots of reasons we do things we should change – legacy systems, old work-arounds, changing cultural norms, old mistakes, former employees, fear, bad decisions, face-saving, poor information, poor management, no sense of ownership or avenue to change for those aware of the problem – and it is hard to see them when they are totally ingrained in our daily work. The New York Daily News provides a great example.

The notion that all hotel rooms must be vacated at the same time makes no sense. The idea that someone lucky enough to find their room ready early can stay for almost 24 hours but someone who arrives at midnight must be out in less than half that time makes no sense. Choosing 10:00 vs. 11:00 vs. noon and imposing that arbitrary decision on your guests makes no sense. Rushing guests out when rooms will sit empty for hours, if no the coming night, makes no sense. Beefing up your cleaning staff so they can clean all rooms in one 4 – 5 hour period makes no sense. I’ve had cleaning staff knock on my door as early as 8 AM, three hours early because they are so eager to make some progress for the checkout onslaught.

What are you doing that makes no sense? What old habits or assumptions are hampering the value you provide or your ability to deliver that value predictably, reliably, and profitably?

When you hear those words, “that’s just the way we do it,” the red flags should fly. Don’t do anything just because you always have!

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