“Why do you cut the ends off the roast?”
The story goes that a husband asked his wife why she always cuts the ends off the roast before cooking it. The wife’s response “That’s how my Mother always made it.” When the Mother was asked she responded, “That’s how your Grandmother always made it.” Upon asking Grandma, it was discovered that it was “Because the pan was too small.”
Sometimes we do things for no good reason. Sometimes we forget to challenge and question precedents.
Sometimes, we take massive leaps and challenge everything because we have to succeed. And those are the times we actually get to be the one to create those precedents - ways of doing things that revolutionize industries, organizations and lives.
When I think of who does those things, I think of the Amazons, the Apples. I also think of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, New Belgium Brewery or Three Square Food Bank - those that go above and beyond and do things that are (initially) seen as unprofitable or weird - because it’s what must be done to create a lasting precedent.
And what does all that spark? It sparks the price-matching of brick and mortar stores, the Samsungs, the million or so pizza joints in Las Vegas hotels (that can’t recreate “secret pizza”) or the use of wind and solar power by breweries all over the country. For Las Vegas, it's even pioneered a way to make sure less youth go hungry. One first, many followers.
Innovation is difficult. It’s time-consuming, often unprofitable or even results in failure. But there is less and less room left in this well-connected world to not innovate. Yes, sometimes it’s easier to just follow. But where is the fun in that? Innovation is what gets me up and out of bed each morning - knowing that today I can do something that no one else has ever thought of.
Next time you catch yourself cutting the ends off of YOUR roast - whatever that may be - challenge the precedent. You might just find a bigger pan.