Prisoners of Assumptions and Habits
Try to change a habit and meet the challenges this change enforces on you.
You carry a long-time owned assumption and face the challenge of letting go of it when this assumption is opposed by new facts.
As much as these assumptions and habit imprison us; paradoxically, they could be the source of our success for they may provide us with new creative ideas. Best is explaining by examples.
Best practices are best only for simple systems. They fail as the system change to a complex one, for example. Because of our sticking to the habit of doing what we are familiar with we tend to stick to doing the same even though we see that they don’t work anymore.
Be careful of the inertia resulting from old-owned habits and assumptions.
The longer we own a habit or believe in an assumption, the harder it gets to load it off. We need an escape from them to dispose off them. Edward de Bono offered valuable techniques and tools to deal with habits and assumptions by challenging and escaping from them. It is not cowardliness to escape from them; more it is courageous to do so to revise them with new perspectives. On personal and business levels we need to have the courage to escape from habits of best practices and assumptions.
The paradox is that we need to escape from habits and assumptions and be courageous to do this.
There are great recent examples of the values of such escapes in the banking and financial sectors. I am extracting few examples of a research that I am doing now on this thought. I dare say that the greatest creative ideas are being generated by escaping from old habits and assumptions. People are less patient than they used to. They need instant answers, services and explanations. Coupled with this is that people want their convenience by not visiting a bank. The provocative idea here is that instead of people going to banks, bank service will reach them where they are. How can this be? It is facing these challenging that led to a host of new service ideas. Take for example, the long-held assumption that banks and credit unions are like oil and water; they just don’t mix. The provocation is to make them mix. Provocation leads to tension and tension may lead to creative tension. This challenging idea made the opposites of banks and credit unions mix by finding ways to cooperate rather than compete, whenever possible. This overlapping of interest between the two immiscible institutions was possible because the parties managed to find an area of common interest and that is advertising free checking. Bancvue managed to get 65 executives from U.S. community banks and credit unions to set aside their differences long enough to cooperate on a big Fourth of July ad for free checking. This full page “Declaration of Free Checking” in the July 2nd edition of USA Today bears each of their signatures, reminding consumers that community-based financial institutions still offer accounts with no monthly fees.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been considered as an expense by bank. The challenge is to reverse this thinking and find ways to turn this expense into profit. I have discussed this issue before in two buzzes. These are:
We are living in a world that it is courageous to escape from long-held habits and assumptions.