Status Quo

by | Mar 28, 2022 | Process Improvement

Why your company should rethink industry norms

Have you ever heard that’s just how we have always done it? Do you feel stuck and imprisoned by specific ideas that were not your own? Watch this video to learn how to stand out from the crowd by following your own path.

If you go to any railroad track in America and measure the distance between the rails, you going to find a very unusual measurement. Four Feet Eight and a Half inches. Now, that’s random. Why is it not five feet or, at worst, not 4 and a half feet? The answer is astonishing and shows that just often, people do what’s already been done before. 

Before the railroad, America used a tramway which was just a motorized wagon on tracks. Guess what the dimension of the tacks was? That’s right, 4 feet 8 and a half inches. Now the same wagon axels used for tramways were used on every horse dawn wagons in America. The construction techniques, tools, and tradespeople in America they all came from Europe. So now we have crossed the Atlantic ocean and landed on the cobblestone roads of London where they had ruts at, you guessed it, 4 feet 8 and a half inches. The problem back then is if you had a carriage with different axel dimensions you would keep bouncing in out of the ruts in every street. 

About Eight years ago, I visited Pompeii and stood on a Roman road from 300 B.C. It had deep ruts with the same standard measurement we have used for over 2,300 years. This picture shows me holding a tape measure and confirming what is hard to believe unless you saw it yourself. 

So what does this story teach us? First that humans are creatures of habit. A decision made one time thousands of years ago and thousands of miles away is still impacting us today. And Second, if you travel the same road everyone else does, it will eventually transform from a well-worn path to tracks cast in steel that literally controls your destination. 

So in conclusion, if you challenge the norms and supposed restrictions of your industry, your business will stand out from the competition. Its challenging but its been done before by people like Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Ellon Musk. Just to name a few.