Why Do We Do This Again?
I'm a sucker for a great word pictures. The story below was one of my very first posts and remains, my most repeated "cautionary tale." For those who spend much time with me, they know I simply refer to it as "The Ham Story." *****************
When I was in college I heard about newlyweds who were hosting their first family brunch and decided to serve ham.
As she was prepping the meal, the wife asked her husband to help her cut off the top of the ham. When he asked her why, she reminded him that, "the top part of ham isn't good, so you have to cut it off and throw it away."
He was flabbergasted and told his wife that was ridiculous. "Of course you can eat that part of the ham!" he said.
The wife quickly called her mother who confirmed indeed, you cook a ham with the top part removed.
When the husband argued with his mother-in-law, the mother-in-law decided to call her mother for back up. Very soon grandma confirmed that she also cut off the top of the ham before cooking it.
"But why? It's a perfectly good piece of meat!" the husband retorted.
"Well," she said, "my pan wasn't big enough to fit the whole ham."
How often does this story fit in a work context?
Most of us are perfectly content tackling tomorrow's problems the same way we approached them today.
I understand how the "ham trap" works.
I like having systems. I like knowing the drill.
No one wants to live a life constantly "reinventing the wheel." However, just because something made sense yesterday doesn't mean that it's the best approach today.
It's good to question. We shouldn't rely on systems just because they are established and familiar.
We should make it our business to ask, "why do we do this?"