Thoughts on “we have always done it this way”

Dear Guaranty Team Members:

It has been a while since I have taken the time to write you all. I have a lot of excuses but not many reasons for that and I won’t bore you with either of them.

In many of my previous messages I have spoken to you about some of the types of people you meet as you go through life and today I am going to talk to you about one more type. You have all met the person who when faced with a change or trying something new, their first reaction is “this will never work”, “we tried that before”, “we have always done it this way”, “if it’s not broke why fix it”. How sad. Where would we be in this world of Louise Pasteur, Jonas Salk, Alexander Graham Bell, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs thought that way. Well, we wouldn’t have pasteurized milk, a polio vaccine, the telephone, personal computers or the modern smart phone. Can you imagine that kind of world? Thomas Edison was asked by a reporter why after the 100th failure of one of his experiments he continued. His reply was that I now know 100 reasons why it doesn’t work. You see to Edison, the answer was out there, and he knew if he kept at it long enough he or someone would eventually find it.

In our company, we are facing many challenges as all companies do, and as we do on a regular basis. Our business next year is going to be different than it is this year and I am going to ask things of you and ask you to do things that you have not done before. When I ask, is your answer going to be “this will never work” or will it be “let me see what it will take to make this happen”. Will your answer be “we tried that before” or “this time I want to try this”. Will your answer be “we have always done it this way” or “we can change this”. Will your answer be “if it’s not broke why fix it” or “I think we can do this better.”

Robert Kennedy in delivering the eulogy at his brother’s funeral delivered a quote that has resonated with me all this time. “Some people look at the world and wonder why, my brother looked at the world and wondered why not?”

When I come calling, what will be your answer?

Have a great week everybody.


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