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How Saying “Because We’ve Always Done It That Way” Can Kill Your Business


Why does your company market your product or service the way it does?  Why does your company have the processes it currently has? Why do you utilize certain tools and not others?  Does your team know? Do you?

I-don't-know-gifIn the allegory of the five monkeys, researchers placed five monkeys in a cage with a ladder that was propped up underneath some hanging bananas.  When a monkey attempted to climb the ladder and grab some bananas, it was doused with frigid water and failed to collect any bananas. This kept happening over and over again to all the monkeys that climbed the ladder until, eventually, none of them wanted to climb up the ladder.

After some time, the researchers replaced the monkeys one by one. When the first new monkey came into the cage, it attempted to climb the ladder to get some bananas. Before the new monkey could be doused with water, the researchers witnessed something interesting. All of the original monkeys that had been sprayed attacked the new monkey in an attempt to keep it from climbing the ladder. As another monkey was replaced by a new one, this same scenario kept playing out.

In the end, the cage was populated with monkeys that had never been sprayed with water.  These new monkeys never attempted to climb the ladder. Why? Because the other monkeys communicated to them through their actions that this is just how things are done.

“Because we’ve always done it that way.”  These are some of the most stifling words that any business can ever incorporate into its lexicon. The effect that a company’s culture can have on its growth and overall success should not be overlooked.

And, when that culture utilizes phrases like “because we’ve always done it that way” as one of its unwritten tenets, that company will have little hope of keeping pace with its competition. This is particularly the case in the economy where customers’ wants and needs change at an ever-increasing rate. Traits such as adaptability and agility are not just rewarded in the current global marketplace; they are required.

Does this mean that the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t hold any value today?  No, of course not! Things, like listening to your customers, forging strong relationships between your team members, and providing a quality product or service, will always be prerequisites for business success. These principles were true thousands of years ago when merchants were selling silk and spices between the East and the West, and they still ring true today.

However, a quick stroll in the metaphoric landfill of failed businesses will show how often businesses get surpassed by competitors because they chose to cling tightly to legacy processes instead of choosing to adapt to new technology, develop new marketing strategies, or upgrade their business processes.  Companies like Kodak, Blackberry, and MySpace paid the price for sticking to the status quo and not recognizing and adapting to upcoming technological trends.
technological-trendWhat is the state of your marketing?  Have you set up business accounts for the major social media platforms but don’t know how to use them?  Have you subscribed to blogs like ours to make sure your knowledge is up to date?

It’s OK for your company to have a set of core values and beliefs that are set in stone.  However, when it comes to your marketing efforts and overall business processes, it’s wise to develop a company culture in which ideas are free-flowing, and individual team member input is not only accepted but also encouraged.  

Running your own business will always have inherent risks associated with it. The consequences of not adapting to technological and marketing changes can be fatal to any business. Avoid this at all cost.

If you agree or disagree with my thoughts on this topic leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you would like guidance for adapting to the ever-changing worlds of technology, marketing, and sales, schedule a free strategy session with our team. We’ll work with you to create a plan that best meets your business’s needs, goals, and budget.

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