The Business Nostalgia Monster

The Business Nostalgia Monster

Working on moving from a system that is has served my employer for 20+ years. The same hardware and software. Amazing in a world where we play with new app for a week or two before writing it off to defects and moving on to something new.

In the moving process we are having to look at the data organization and structure. While we are doing this the, "That's the way we have always done it" nostalgia monster tried to rear its head.

1. That's the way we have always done it.

You haven't always done it that way.

This may seem obvious once it is out there but it is not always intuitive . There was a beginning point for the way that you are doing it now. 

At one point we didn't even do things on "green screens" we used paper and pen. And before that rocks and sticks.

2. New is always better.

New is always different.

Sometimes newer is better.  Sometimes what we are using comes to the end of its life and we are forced to get something new.

New is not always better. New is always different. Different is not always bad.

At the end of the day that new shiny thing needs to complete the functions at least as well as the old did.

How it does that will probably be different.

3. We don't have time. Go with that one. 

Today, Tomorrow and the Near Future

These are your planning stages. You think you are rushed now?

How rushed you will be when you have to redo something simply because you didn't stop to think about realistic possible situations. 

I'm not talking about every little thing that could or has creeped up. But pause and consider the following:

  1. What will solve the most problems today and get us back to doing business?
  2. What are we planning to do tomorrow (or next quarter, or next phase of the project)?
  3. What are we wanting to do next phase (or next year) that is off the table for now due to costs, time, etc?

This simple review may take 30min ( or 2 hours) but at the end of the day it will save you days or months and thousands of dollars.

But don't murder the monster...

Remember that the nostalgia monster, in someways, is how your business got to where its at. There were plenty of times it lended a helping hand. 

Over time, waste has been cut out and a process or system is as lean as it can be. This deserves respect and can help define the new solution. 

Other times a process or system has bloated to a multi-faced monster that looks different to everyone who comes near it.

Steps to greet the monster head on.

  1. Define "way we've always done it". Often there is not a single "way".
  2. Acknowledge that how that "way" or "ways" helped and/or hurt business.
  3. Present the new way and how it will benefit the business.

"This is the way it has been done. 
This is the way we will do it moving forward."


If it still wants to rear its head... 

Politely tell it to kiss off and that any continuance down that path will result in less employment opportunities to be able to "do it the way we've always done it" because revenue streams will have receded.

Respect the past.
Acknowledge the present.
Welcome the future.

photo credit: 
Jenn and Tony Bot - Carny Mascot Custom Dunny via photopin (license)

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