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Traditions are for the birds!

by Miki Saxon

Another editor-inspired Theme day here at the b5 business Channel and it’s traditions—not a topic for which I have much liking.

Generally, traditions are the result of doing something the same way year after year and in a few instances I suppose that’s OK, but most of the time it translates as “because we’ve always done it that way and we’re not about to change.” Given this translation, traditional traditions in business are not only bad, but support various pieces of bureaucracy.

Bureaucracy shouldn’t be confused with process. Process is good—it helps get things done smoothly and efficiently; bureaucracy is bad—it’s process calcified, convoluted, politically corrupted, or just plain unnecessary and it feeds on people’s fear of change.

So, how about some UNtraditional traditions such as

that will provide your people real reasons for giving thanks.

As Nike says, JUST DO IT.

turkey vulture

Walk this talk and you’ll never be mistaken for a turkey (vulture)!

5 Responses to “Traditions are for the birds!”
  1. Casey RossNo Gravatar Says:

    Life is life. It does not matter whether you work in business or the church (where I work). Your comments about tradition and bureaucracy are dead on in my world as well. I see people fighting hard for traditions in my world and forget that this is happening in all areas of life. Sure, some things work really well and need to stick around for the sake of effectiveness. But so much in life happens only b/c that is the way it has always happened. What once started as an effective process or action is now a tired and ineffective bureaucracy. Great post! Thanks!

  2. Miki SaxonNo Gravatar Says:

    Wow, Casey, thanks! If there was any group I thought would disagree it was the religious segment of my readership.

    You’re right, too. Life is life, fear is fear and bureaucracy continues to masquerade as tradition all around the town.

  3. LukeNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Miki! After Casey’s comment I thought I would leave something of a similar comment.

    I’m a Freemason (www.tryfreemasonry.com) and we exhibit the same sort of “problem.” Many of our traditions are old (at least 250 years) and are wonderful, useful traditions.

    However, there many, many more “traditions” that have cropped up as the fraternity has bounced along through time. We’re now fighting huge amounts of bureaucracy to get simple information moved between ruling bodies and even more bureaucracy to do simple things.

    The processes formed long ago have now become bogged down bureaucracies that you need to take a minimum of a year to learn how they work.

    Your site has been extremely helpful to me! I’m 24 and will soon be sitting as our Worshipful Master (essentially president) in the upcoming year. I hope you continue discussing issues leaders come up against and ways to make life better for all involved!

  4. Miki SaxonNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Luke, From my slight knowledge of your organization I’m surprised that it’s not worse!

    I’m delighted that you’re finding the information useful. If you’d like more on cultures and how to change them check out my other blog at www.MAPingCompanySuccess.com.

    Also, I offered free coaching a few weeks ago and not all the slots were filled, so if you’re interested let me know (your situation sounds like fun:)

  5. Leaders Should NOT Be Cowboys Says:

    […] don’t confuse process with bureaucracy. Process is like MAP, it gets you where you want to go, whereas bureaucracy can stifle whatever it […]

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