Home » Change Management » When To Rethink What We Think We Already Know

When To Rethink What We Think We Already KnowNo free government, nor the blessing of liberty, can be preserved … but by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.  Virginia constitution drafted by Mason, Madison, Jefferson and Henry.


I was talking with a friend who was complaining about the side effects of some pills she was taking.  I asked her why she was taking them.  Her response?  The doctor told her to.   She told me it was by her doctor’s direction with a “what kind of a dumb question is that?” tone of voice.  She didn’t know why or for what specific reason she was taking these pills. She didn’t ask.


My wife uses a homemade solution to clean the bathrooms.  She says it doesn’t asphyxiate her as do store-bought products, it leaves her hands feeling soft, it smells nice and the bathrooms look, smell and feel clean.  Finally, it is a fraction of the price of store-bought products.  And, it leaves her with a feeling of pride in finding and using this simple and effective solution.


Vendors tell us what products or tools to use.  Studies say what methodologies work the best in the average case.  We often feel we need high powered sounding tools and solutions to get us up to that next level of performance.


Sometimes, innovations and leaps to the next level of performance come from nothing more than going back to basics (e.g., the cleaning solution) or from simply asking obvious questions (e.g.,  why am I taking these pills?).  Rethinking what we think we know and what we may have been doing for years is a great way to find opportunities to do things better.


I’ve also observed that great tools and techniques will often degrade with time as we slip into a checklist and go-through-the-motions mentality.  Sometimes all we need is a refresher on what we are already doing — getting back to doing it the way it was intended — to jump us up to the next level of performance.  A new tool or methodology is not always the answer.

Have you thought lately about what you are doing and why you are doing it as a method of doing it better?

Thank you for sharing!

2 thoughts on “When To Rethink What We Think We Already Know

  1. Bruce Benson says:


    Good points. I always argue that management includes the art of the balancing act. We find ourselves arguing for different directions on different days and to some people it sounds contradictory. Instead, it is like steering a ship at sea where we have to constantly adjust to the current environment which changes constantly (in spite of our well laid plans!).

    Steering well also means having experience and education so that we can distinguish between what’s normal and what’s an extreme and then having the skill to pilot (lead) well in just about any weather (e.g., in a tsunami of ideas or problems or in a calm of ideas and solutions).

    Thanks for the feedback.


  2. Bob says:

    Great post Bruce, and one not just applicable to managing projects, but to everything we do (as you clearly demonstrate).

    I find the 2 main challenges in questioning what we do are found in the extremes. On one hand, there’s not knowing of or seeing alternatives, whether by denial or lack of energy/creativity. The opposite is having too many options, or “paralysis by analysis”. Both support the easy path of doing the same thing, and both require a real effort to overcome.

    Your final point is spot on. Change doesn’t have to be drastic to yield benefit.

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