This is the first post in what will be possibly be a 25-part series of business mantras. Each day I will select (or possibly create on the spot) a barely-thought-out phrase, motto, slogan or saying – back it up with a flimsy circumstantial account – and steadfastly insist that it’s correct, possibly in the face of evidence to the contrary.
The mantra of today, day one in this twenty five part series, is “Doing Stupid Things Is A Choice”.
If you work in a large organization, or for the government, or for a smaller organization with an inexplicable bureaucracy problem—you probably know a person or a whole team of people within your organization who have a consistently defeatist attitude about things. They assume deadlines will slip. They assume that work of a subpar quality will be delivered internally. They assume that the messy, complicated and useless processes that exist are “just the way things are” and they don’t care enough to change them.
Similarly, maybe you’ve known that there was a “right way” to do something, but felt that because of organizational politics or incompetence, you needed to find a round-about way of getting there—usually by doing 10 things wrong first.
These systems don’t come into existence by themselves, and they don’t perpetuate themselves either. Each of these attitudes and views about the way things and the way things must be is the result of constant decision making that could be stopped at any moment at all by anyone involved.
No matter what you’re doing or why you’re doing it—you only get one life. In my life, accepting failure and incompetence just because “that’s the way things work here” simply isn’t good enough.
So stop making excuses next time you feel resigned to failure because of some entrenched practice in your organization. By perpetuating the attitude of disappointment, you’re part of the problem.