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Change How We Do Things?

“Without Change There is No Innovation….” William Pollard

Have you wondered why some things get done a certain way? Sometimes there are valid business reasons, other times, it’s hard to know. Change is hard, but repetition is not. A good story to illustrate why some processes are done is the famous ‘Social Experiment’ of 5 Monkeys and a Ladder. The story says that a group of scientists placed five monkeys in a cage, and in the middle, they placed a ladder with bananas on top. Every time a monkey tried to climb the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water. After a while, every time a monkey would attempt to climb the ladder, the other monkeys would pull it down and beat it up. Nobody wanted to get soaked with cold water. After a time, no monkey would dare to climb the ladder.

At that point, the scientists decided to change one of the monkeys. The first thing this new monkey did was to attempt to climb the ladder. Of course, the others did not let him. Instantly they pulled him down and beat him up. After several beatings, the new monkey learned not to climb, even without a clear reason not to, besides the beatings.

Then a second monkey was replaced, and the same thing happened. The first monkey even participated in beating the second monkey. A third, a fourth, then the fifth monkey was substituted, and the same thing happened. Now there was a group of five monkeys that, never received a cold shower, but continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder. The monkeys had been changed, but the process had not changed.

In 1976, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a pioneering computer scientist stated, “the most dangerous phrase (we) can use is “We’ve always done it that way.”

The automotive industry is changing fast. Everything from the way cars are made, to how they are transported, offered to consumers, and delivered to customers has changed. Our vehicles keep us moving whether we are at the wheel or not. We have the safest, smartest, most autonomous, environmentally friendly, and ubiquitous vehicles in human history. Doing things the way we have always done them is not an option for success. Change is the new constant.

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