“Are we even capable of explaining the status quo, or is the way we do things set merely because we forgot that we could do it better?” Seth Godin
Remember the term “Bankers Hours“?
When I was growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, most banks closed a 3 pm, and perhaps stayed open open to 4 or 5 one day a week. I’d always assumed that this was due to some sort of state or federal regulation. One day, I mentioned my curiosity to my mother who had been a bank teller in the late 1960’s, and she told me that before computers, it would take the tellers close to two sometimes three hours to balance their drawers and process the day’s deposits and withdrawals. The bank was closing at 3 pm, but the staff was working until 5 pm or later each day.
But then in the 1970’s along comes computers, first mainframes, then Pc’s and servers, and the deposits and withdrawals were process as the day went along. Now the end of the day was mostly making sure the amount of cash and checks in the teller’s drawers matched up to the totals on the computer print out. Closing out, typically took minutes and not hours, and yet, “bankers hours” somehow persisted for more than a decade, until overwhelming market-forces, forced the bank managers off the golf course and back in front of customers.
So can you explain why you do something the way you do?
The way you’re currently doing something might be great, just perfect, there may be no more efficient way to do it, and that would be fine. But are you sure?
What does is really hurt to find out? What are you missing out on by not finding out?
If you find yourself about to say, “That’s how we’ve always done it.” or “We tried that once and it didn’t work.”, rather chose to try to explain why. And if you have trouble explaining why, well…
Well, your “why” might have expired and it might just be time to try something else.