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We’ve always done it this way

I recently interviewed Olympic champion Dominik Gisin for my podcast. Despite having undergone nine operations on her knee, she was able to make her dream come true. She made it to the very top – Olympic gold! One of her statements totally changed my perspective on problem solving …

… I’m always amazed when, on the one hand, new solutions are sought for old problems and, in the same breath, arguments such as ‘we’ve always done it this way’ come up. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about developing  talents, a high-performance team or an entire company. I believe that if problems are always approached the same way, the results will always be similar. This has been confirmed in practice time and again.

Dominik Gisin underwent nine operations on her knee. Yet, she knew exactly what to do to get back on her feet. To get there however, she had to try a new path at every step. When she thought she could solve the problem by adopting the exact same methods as before, she ended up in a dead end. Her words were clear: there is no ‘secret recipe’ nor ‘the one method’ that leads to success.

I think it’s perfectly fine for us to remain within our own comfort zone. Comfort zones provide security, a sense of order and an opportunity for relaxation. However, when it comes to solving a problem or to personal growth, it is necessary for us to leave our comfort zone, follow new paths and try something new.

By the way: ‘We’ve always done it this way’ is something my grandfather said to me over thirty years ago. I am always surprised to hear the exact same sentence in meetings with top managers. When was the last time you used that argument?

All the best!

Ralph Hubacher

The best tool is the right method

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