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Courtesy of Lisa Lee and Margie Carter with “Exchange” magazine, via Lorraine Manuela, I recently came isacross the interesting term, “TTWWADI Syndrome”. What is it, and what is its significance? This acronym stands for, That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It, and it’s something that most of us are guilty of succumbing to at one time or another.

TTWWADI thinking keeps people thinking the same way and doing the same things year in, year in, regardless of whether it’s working or not. It’s pretty much the same thing as the famous adage, “The definition of ….. (you fill in the blank) … is doing things the same way and expecting different results.” Basically, TTWWADI thinking represents the status quo, a way to keep putting off problems or even admitting they exist in the first place. And since most of us resist change to at least a certain extent, it doesn’t take long before TTWWADI thinking persists year…after year…after…. Well you get the idea.

This sort of thinking isn’t ALL bad. If something IS working, why change it? Or, as I like to put it; “Why reinvent the wheel?” But in today’s rapidly changing world, even if something IS working, there’s no guarantee it will keep on working tomorrow. And if something clearly IS wrong, not changing it is the very definition of stupidity.

shrugI’ve experienced TTWWADI thinking in various ways, in different aspects of my life, as you probably have. One organization I’m involved in clearly recognizes that in order to grow, it simply HAS to do some things differently. The organization’s leaders are well aware of this, and they are continually trying new initiatives. Are they all working? Too early to say. WILL all the things they’re trying work? Probably not, but as another saying goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Improve upon the changes with the most potential, which are succeeding, if even slightly, and ditch the others. In other words, some ideas will stick, while others won’t. Using baseball as an analogy, even if you fail at least you “went down swinging.”

But a different nonprofit I’m more aware of, than involved in, is so stuck in TTWWADI thinking that I feel it’s doomed to failure if it stays on its present path. One board member recently had some good ideas, but for whatever reason he was not allowed to speak his mind. Understandably disgusted, he resigned. Who could blame him? Maybe this organization feels being “mediocre” is okay. … but isn’t being “so-so” in reality one step from failure? Or as Lisa Lee puts it, “Change is necessary to address our own tolerance of mediocrity.”

* What innovative ideas are you considering in your field?
* If you’re not striving to promote innovation, excitement, and growth, what’s holding you back?

These are questions worth considering – for all of us…. Let’s change the TTWWADI Syndrome to a more forward-thinking WAWCCWWD Syndrome (Why Aren’t We Considering Changing What We’re Doing?)