The Way It’s Always Been

I think we are at a really critical juncture in our corporate American history. Now more than ever, the battle between “the way it’s always been” (TWIAB) versus “the way it should be” (TWISB) is strikingly prevalent. And the stakes have never been higher.

What’s amazing to me is that this notion or struggle often times seems to have nothing to do with age like one may assume. Typically, one may think that the aging workforce is the group who may be holding on strongest to “always been” versus “should be”. What I have seen in many cases may be exactly the opposite. More junior resources who are brought into a fairly process-oriented structure (think AT&T, for anyone who has worked there or knows anyone who has) often times get married to the process (TWIAB) and see that as their means for being relevant or deserving a position. The upper leadership (commonly older) are the ones who are willing to break the mold or try new things because, in their opinion, the company’s ability to remain relevant is wildly dependent upon their ability to innovate (TWISB).

Now, I realize this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Many older corporate citizens are happily taking golden parachutes and impeding forward growth, whereas the younger guard is embracing high technology and innovation as a means of growth. Hence the recent surge in startups and a migration back towards smaller, more agile companies in technologically competitive environments. I just figured I owed it to the matter at hand to paint the other side of the picture.

What do you think? Are we as Americans becoming too complacent when we embrace “tried and true” processes or TWIAB? Or is that a partially necessary evil to balance out overinvestment in TWISB?

Til Next Time,


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