There are idioms in the American vocabulary that should be banned! They should be thrown out with the proverbial bathwater! They should be beaten with an ugly stick and given the cold shoulder!
My friends, as Project Managers, I have no doubt that many of us could retire if we had a dollar for each time we heard the phrase, "We've Always Done It That Way". Implying of course that the process is perfect and change is simply unnecessary!
As Project Managers we are Change Managers, we walk in the door when there is a change to be made. When…. dare I say, "the change is inevitable". All kidding aside I often wonder why there is so much fear associated with change. I understand fear and hesitation if we are talking about changing careers, money, marriage or children. Those changes definitely require caution and a little fear might make sense. WADITW is commonly a fear based reaction to the idea of change. WADITW falls out of their mouth before they even know they've said it.
When faced with the dreaded, "WADITW" my response is simply to ask the question, "why", why have you always done it that way? Which is usually followed by a blank stare. Once the blank stare has passed, I often see a small smile as the person tells me that they don't really know why WADITW, they just know that that's the way it's done.
To head WADITW off at the pass, I broaden the conversation. I ask open ended questions that push them down a path of what they like and don't like about the current process. Those broader conversations open up their mind and allows them to digest the idea or the concept of a change.
A better idea may be to avoid the WADITW altogether, by acknowledging that what you are tasked with is a change and recognizing that change can sometimes be difficult. Reassure them that they will be involved in the discussions and decisions being made.
So, I'm curious...what do you do when process or system change is met with a WADITW?