“This is how we’ve always done it” – Why a leader has to challenge the status quo

an illustration of a cat from the back for the blog post this is how we"ve always done it. why leaders shall challenge the status quo and to challenge the idea of this is how we've always done it

“This is how we’ve always done it”. When I hear this sentence, it makes my hair stand up and there is an old fable that always come to my mind. I picture the cat and I think “Time has come to dig in and to challenge the status quo”. I am not saying that things of the past always have to change. However, as a leader, it is your duty to find out what are the drivers in your process and to decide whether things have to change or not.

illustration of a cat for the blog post on why leaders have to challenge the status quo and the sentence this is how we've always done itSo here is the fable:

When the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, the cat who lived in the monastery made such noise that it distracted them. So the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice. Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up.

Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.

Voilà! So I guess the next time you’ll hear “This is how we’ve always done it”, you’ll think of this poor cat and you’ll take responsibility to dig in and challenge the status quo.

Note that this fable has been in my notebook for over a decade. Not sure what is the source, I am not the original author.

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