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Today I’d like to discuss cheese puffs and the social relevance of sidewalk art. I bet a co-worker that I could work that sentence into my next blog post. I win. This article has nothing to do with cheese puffs or sidewalk art. Or, does it? So other than the bet, why did I start off my article this way? To that I shout “Why not?!”

I don’t think enough people ask that question. Especially in the work place. Granted, it’s not their fault, as they were conditioned by years of systematic academic programming to follow the rules. However solving problems and creating an atmosphere of innovation is more fun and successful when you stop and ask “Why?” Heck, I’ve built my entire career around "Why?" Of course you must be sensible and if there is a reasonable answer to this question, then perhaps your current solution is the correct and appropriate one. That chain of thought is not as much fun to talk about though so I’ll stay on track with discussing the people who most procedure hounds and micro-managers might call "agitators", "instigators", or other colorful adjectives.

Ever hear the parable about the Holiday Ham? I tried to find the original source for this story but I couldn’t seem to find it. Anyway, it goes something like this:

A child stood and watched her mother prepare the annual Holiday Ham. The mother carefully cut each end off of the ham before placing it in the pan. The child asked, “Hey Mom, why do you always cut the ends off the ham?” The mother replied, “Well, that’s the way my mother always did it.” So the child called her grandmother and asked, “Grandma, why do you always cut the ends off the ham?” The grandmother replied, “Because that’s the way my mother always did it.” Finally, the child called her great-grandmother and asked, “Great-Grandma, why did you always cut the ends off the ham?” The great-grandmother replied, “I don’t know why anyone else does, but the ham was way too big to fit in my small baking pan.”

Are there people in your workplace that are following rules and procedures without questioning them? If so, that might be spelling trouble for your organization. Of course there are obvious rules and procedures that should be followed, but how many of your employees are cutting off the ends of the ham just because they were told to do so? Technology eventually brings about bigger and better baking pans. Every day there are technological advances that enable us to do more with less effort. Does your staff exist in an environment where it’s not only accepted but praised for questioning the way things are done? Growth, innovation and the future of your company might just depend on it! So now how do you feel about cheese puffs and the social relevance of sidewalk art? That’s no way to start or end an article! To that I shout, “Why not?!”

Jon Sooy
VP Sales and Marketing

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