RSS Are You Paralyzed by Tradition?

Okay, I need to go on the record as saying I am a big fan of traditions.

On a personal level, I relish the thought of eating turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. I like knowing what to expect when I attend a church service. And, I enjoy my monthly “guys night out,” where we play poker and talk fantasy football – it’s been the same group of friends for over 20 years!

On a professional level, I find comfort in my organizational culture and wholeheartedly support it. In addition, I value the high performance objectives we set because they make team members better and the organization stronger.

This being said, however, I can’t help but think about a recent college football analyst who called the Oregon Ducks “anti-tradition.” This analyst believed that it was only by stepping away from athletic tradition that the Ducks perfected their winning formula. To even the most casual college football fan, many examples come to mind: their cutting-edge uniforms in a myriad of color combinations, their fast-paced offense, and the fact that they don’t just use the fourth down to punt the ball.

Yet, the bottom-line for Duck football is never ignored. They are about (a) creating an enjoyable product that (b) increases fan support and related revenues, while at the same time (c) increasing exposure to talented young recruits who will sustain the winning formula. In other words, you can be untraditional in your actions, and still achieve success.

Here are my tips on how to take a critical eye to your own traditions.

  • 1 — Take time today to identify large-scale traditions in your organization and your industry.
  • 2 — Evaluate the processes, assumptions and organizational structures where the motto is “we’ve always done it –that way.” Is it possible the established ways are stifling growth and efficiency?
  • 3 — Identify your work routines and the information you seek to make decisions. By measuring the same things, are you limiting your upside potential?
  • 4 — Maybe it’s time to challenge your daily routines. How might you spend your time differently that will create more value to your customers or peers?

We should all take solace in the traditions that help us achieve both success and happiness. To the extent that our traditions fail to deliver, maybe it’s time to consider alternatives! What kind of traditions do you hope to change at your organization? Which do you think you’ll be keeping?

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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