Seeing the future through the eyes of the past
So this young man and young woman get married. All goes well and the young wife says “I’d like to cook you a Sunday dinner on our first Sunday together”. He agrees and looks forward to the great feast to come.
On Sunday the young man decides to stay with his wife whilst she cooks in the kitchen and he sees a very puzzling thing. She takes out a piece of beef from the fridge, slices the top third off and places the rest in their brand new double oven. Naturally, it being their first roast dinner together he says nothing. The meal is served up and it is truly delicious.
The following Sunday they are invited over to his mother-in-laws for lunch. He decides to do a little sucking up and stays chatting to his mother-in-law in the kitchen whilst she prepares the meal. To his amazement she too takes the meat out of the fridge, a dazzling looking piece of pork, slices the top third off and places the rest in the oven. Once again the meal is scrumptious and everyone congratulates her for a job well done.
The next weekend they all descend upon his wife’s Grandma for Sunday lunch. She still lives in the same house she did when she was first married over 60 years ago and although he didn’t say so the young man thought a kitchen make-over was long overdue. He found Grandma fascinating. She was as sharp as a whip and a great conversationalist so he stayed in the kitchen whilst she prepared the eagerly anticipated meal. As he watched her everything fell into place for him: she took the meat out of the fridge sized it up, sliced about a third of it off which was just enough to get the remainder into her tiny ancient oven.
I wonder how many people conduct their business activities in exactly the same way: by blindly copying what they saw before them?
In business, as in life, it is always worth asking the question “why?”