Challenging the same old routine

Few things are as simple as walking home from work. I get on the train from London. Get off the train at Fratton Station; walk down Fawcett Road and round a couple of corners to my house. Surely there is nothing wrong with this? It is a well practiced routine to the extent that I do it without thought or concentration. Even without noticing.

This week was different. I got off the train and bumped into a neighbour who had been on the same train. We chatted and walked together. To my surprise, they didn’t take my normal route. I found myself strolling in less familiar territory. My first reaction was to tell them that they ‘had gone wrong’. But then it struck me. Their way was quicker. Not by much in fairness but enough to make me think I should go their way in future

I think my routine has been established over many years. Probably I walked home from the train station when i first moved here and the route seemed OK. So I stuck with it.

This produces an obvious challenge for all of you. How many routines do you have that are worthy of challenge? I bet there are many processes, methods and ways of working that have become routine ‘the way we do things around here’. If you take my example, it is hard to spot them yourself as they are so ingrained you probably don’t give them a second thought. So how about this:

At the next team meeting, ask the newest team member to point out anything they find slow, inefficient or confusing. A new team member may see your workplace with fresh eyes.

Try working with someone from outside your team. Buy them some coffee and explain you want them to challenge your working methods

Try some creative thinking sessions – brainstorm different ways of doing things

At your next team meeting put one process or method on the agenda. Spend 10 minutes as a team discussing whether you could stop doing it  or could radically improve it. Implement the ideas quickly and then tackle another one with every meeting.

Good luck! Do email me your suggestions and perhaps your examples of routines that you managed to break.

Music playing in the office this week and other trivia

Top of the playlist this week is Ryan Adams. If you worked with DTC you would pretty much hear Ryan every day. He is something of a soundtrack here. This week has been the ‘Gold’ album. Ryan is practically perfect in every way.

It would also be remiss of me not to mention that I upgraded my Pro-tools music recording software to version 10 which is very exciting. Although Brian and Ann looked bored when I went on about it.