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Eliminate “we’ve always done this” from your business vocabulary

Innovation and forward movement are critical to business success. What might have worked in the past is probably not up to today’s standards. In addition, legacy processes are often cumbersome and tend to take up a lot of time for employees. Retail giants like Sears and Blockbuster have been in a terrible tailspin because they haven’t embraced change.

Letting go of the “we’ve always done this way” thought is a great way to move your business forward.

Keeping up with technology is also critical. Southwest Airlines found out about this recently. Casey Murray, President of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said: “Southwest’s legacy technology and processes cannot keep up with today’s complex networking needs.”

System failures have left thousands stranded during the holiday season. Not even the airline’s coveted top score for customer satisfaction could save Southwest from the publicity nightmare that followed.

In 2022 Forbes In “The Most Dangerous Phrase in Business: We’ve Always Done This Way,” Ben Zimmerman wrote:

“Many of our problems stem from fear: of failure, of the new, of the unfamiliar. And the worst? This fear can be subtle and can manifest in unfamiliar ways. There is a difference between a company that stands its ground and a company that is simply afraid of change. While the former can fail, the latter is prone to failure from the outset.”

A work culture that doesn’t allow for new opportunities or innovation out of fear can lead to a stagnant workforce that is detrimental to the organization’s growth and success. Enabling employees to generate new ideas and processes can create a culture that employees want to be a part of.

While the current processes may work, there are opportunities to improve them and make them more profitable for the business. Employees could work less with old and obsolete technology and alleviate this frustration by working with modern mechanization.

Now is a good time for business owners to take a close look at their technologies and processes and determine if they are capable of fully managing the business as it is today and the growth it expects to achieve in the future. This investment in training can save a company’s reputation and keep it from going out of business.



Tracey Irby


TRACY IRBY is director of the Center for Women Entrepreneurs at Texas Woman’s University. She can be contacted at [email protected] The Center is a program of the Jane Nelson Women’s Leadership Institute dedicated to preparing more women for success in business and public service.

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