This is how we have always done that means what?

This is how we have always done that. That can apply to a lot of things. For example, did you know that it doesn’t work to put new wine in an old wineskin? I doubt that you did, and you may have never thought about it unless you happened to have read Mark 2:22 where that advice is given. Well I wondered about it, and in looking a little closer I found that the reason is that new wine has not fermented yet. When it is put in the wineskin and sealed it does ferment, and that means it expands. Old wineskins don’t do well expanding. The have become brittle and are set in place. The new wine fermenting creates pressure and rips open the old wineskins. Both the wineskins and the wine are lost.

That is a great story when you apply it to the people in our lives and to ourselves.  We become brittle and set in our ways. New ideas can be challenging. If we want to be better tomorrow than yesterday, we need to keep some flexibility.This story and example has application to something that happened  several years ago, and I remember it well.

Businesses with warehouses all seem to have similar functions. The warehouse physically manages the inventories. They record in and out movement, receiving, storing and shipping the products. Accounting is concerned that the numbers are correct. Sales and customers drive what goes out. Purchasing sets up what comes in. It is often the case that these departments have some disagreements.  Often friction comes with the warehouse when the movement of product doesn’t seem logical.  These things are managed with computers these days and it is easier, but it isn’t friction free.

The warehouse manager in place when this story happened had worked for the company for 35 years. He had never had another job. One thing he knew well was how they had always done things.

When the business was very small he was the one that ordered all the products and he also managed the inventory levels. The business had grown over the years and purchasing had changed.  A purchasing department and buyers had been added. Even with these changes the warehouse manager still was the one that gave the buyers numbers on what to buy each week. A time came when the businesses growth made it necessary to find better ways to buy.

A new senior manager came into the business and the purchasing department became aware of a lot of new options. It changed how some of the products were being bought. A lot of discussions took place with the warehouse management and the purchasing management.  Attempts to get everyone on board with what was being done seemed to have made some progress.

One day 100 cases of product came in. This product in the past had come in 50 cases at a time. With the extra cases the former inventory locations just wouldn’t work. The warehouse manager had missed the notifications and found himself surprised at the arrival. For him it was the last straw. He didn’t want to talk about it. He just resigned.

He was in his late 40’s. He went to trade school to see if he could change careers. After several years, he had not found a position as good as he had left.

The real reason the warehouse manager left was not because of the 100 cases of inventory. He left because he didn’t like his new manager. He didn’t like his new manager because he knew “how things had always been done” and he had not been successful in making his new manager see it that way.

The warehouse manager was inflexible. When he said that “he knew how it had always been done” he might as well have said, “hey guys, I am inflexible”.

If we are to become better tomorrow than yesterday, we need to change. We need to stay flexible so that we are able to change.

Our subconscious is busy telling our conscious brain what we want. It uses as criteria what we have always wanted. Our subconscious values how we have always done things.

We need to control what goes into our thoughts and find ways to inform our subconscious that we want to change.