I recently passed a car that had a box of tissues in the back window area.  This was a common practice of my grandparents — and something I never understood.  If you need a tissue while driving, you need to be able to reach it.  The tissues ride around back there forever because they are never used.  But I am sure no one ever questioned the practice.

The same kind of logic carries over into the workplace.  Why are certain practices or policies in place?  Because they always have been.  We recently converted to a new phone system.  This caused people to pay attention to the phone for the first time in years. Suddenly people started thinking about something that had become a habit.  “Why do we have a phone here?  Why do we lock up the phone at night even though you need a code to use it?  Why do we need individual passwords in an office when we just turn around and post them on a sheet anyway?”  

Also this week I was in a different area of the building and came upon a bulletin board in the hallway.  This board had information that was a minimum of six years old.  When we asked the person whose office was directly across from it if we could update it, he said that he “hadn’t noticed” that it was old until we pointed it out.  

I think everyone benefits when you look at the world and try to really see it.  Make it your goal today to help something invisible be seen.  Only then can you intentionally decide to continue it because it has merit instead of just longevity.  

— beth triplett


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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