There’s an old story about a young girl helping her mother prepare the holiday ham. Mom explains that they must cut a little off both ends of the ham before putting it in a pan to go in the oven. Curiosity got the best of the young girl, so she asked her mother why. Mom thought about it for a minute and said “That’s the way my mother taught me. You’ll have to ask her when she gets here.”
The grandmother arrived a little while later and the young girl couldn’t wait to ask, “Grandma, why do you cut both ends off the ham before putting it in the oven?” Grandma thought about it for a minute and said “That’s the way Great Grandmother taught me. You’ll have to ask her when she gets here.”
Great Grandmother finally arrived and the first question out of the young girl’s mouth was, “Great Grandmother, why did you teach Grandma to cut both ends off the ham before putting it in the oven?” Great Grandmother replied casually, “because we didn’t have a pan big enough to cook to whole ham.”
The moral of the story, obviously, is it’s wise to ask why, rather than blindly continuing to do what you’ve always done.
The TTWWADI Syndrome
There’s a term for this – TTWWADI Syndrome, which, of course, stands for That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It. Obviously, continuing to do things the way they’ve always been done isn’t conducive to efficiency.
Imagine if your utility still did things the way they’d always been done. Your meter readers would walk their routes and write the readings in meter books. Someone in the office would use a calculator to calculate the usage and amount of the bill, hand writing these values on a post card pre-addressed by an Addressograph machine. Seriously – early in my career we converted a town from a manual system that calculated water and electric charges this way!
What could your utility be doing differently?
It never hurts to take a moment to evaluate processes your utility follows with an eye toward looking for areas of improvement. You never know – there might be areas where you are still cutting both ends off the ham!
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Is your office stuck in TTWWADI Syndrome?
If you’ve ever questioned whether your office is still doing things the way you’ve always done them and could be doing better, please give me a call at 919-673-4050 or email me at email@example.com to learn how a business review could help you find out.
© 2023 Gary Sanders