How many people do something at work just because ‘it’s the way we have always done it’? Because they thought it was established practice. The following paragraph is taken from a report about the trial in South Korea of the crew of the ferry which sank in April 2014 and which caused the loss of over 300 lives.
‘When he took the stand last week, the ferry captain, on trial for homicide along with three crew members, said he was just following established practice in not making safety checks before the vessel set off.’
How many people do something at work just because ‘they thought it was established practice’? ‘because it’s the way we have always done it’.
Not ever has what you do at work ‘because it’s the way we have always done it’ led to the horrific consequences in this case, but what you did
might have led to something going wrong or to something not being done that should have been done. And then further along the process something else will be affected by what you did or didn’t do.
The result might be that someone gets hurt, or that some work needs to be redone. In either case, and this might sound callous in the first of these, the consequences will be a cost to the organisation. Of course in the first case it will also be a cost to the individual and that cannot be quantified however much one tries to put a figure on to an injury. Whenever an established, but incorrect practice is carried out, there is a cost!
What should we do if there is an ‘established practice’ that is out of date, inappropriate or for whatever reason simply not the right practice?
Change the process! It’s as simple as that!
Don’t continue just ‘because we have always done it this way’.