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Morning Mindset with Paul G. Markel


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Mar 21, 2018

When I was in the military and contracted later on we had a phrase called the “3 Ring Binder Syndrome”.  If it was in the 3 Ring Binder, that is how we did it, regardless of whether or not it still made sense. Many 3 Ring Binders were written decades before hand. “We’ve always done it that way” is not an excuse for mediocrity or laziness. 


Episode Transcription

[INTRO]

♫ Trenches by Pop Evil ♫

*Alex*

Welcome to Morning Mindset. A daily dose of practical wit and wisdom with a professional educator & trainer, Amazon best selling author, United States Marine, Television and Radio host, Paul G. Markel. Each episode will focus on positive and productive ways to strengthen your mindset, and help you improve your relationships, career goals, and overall well-being. Please welcome your host; Paul G. Markel.


*Professor Paul*

Alright welcome back, and we are back, and I promise we’re going to do everything we can do to make sure you get these shows all the time, when you’re supposed to get them. Now we will be taking breaks occasionally, but I’ll try to give you a head’s up before I take a break. But what happened last Friday & Monday was my Producer put the show together, submitted it to iTunes, and iTunes screwed up. Now all you hip cats, all you people sharper than the average bowling ball, you realize you can go to www.morningmindsetpodcast.com and that the audio archives will be there.

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Also there are some podcast players that are Not supported by iTunes, that are independent like Soundcloud! You could go to Soundcloud and find the shows there. What happened was iTunes dropped the ball, and my producer actually had to get in there and essentially had to re-submit everything because they screwed up. So in the future, if you didn’t get the show and I didn’t tell you I was gonna take a break, I will be telling you when I’m gonna take a break. But if I didn’t tell you that, you can always go to www.morningmindsetpodcast.com, and also there are other independent services, like Soundcloud and YouTube.

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Alright that is the story. Well what are we gonna talk about today? We’re gonna talk about “The Way We've Always Done It”. Aaahhh, how many of you have heard that? How many of you have ever been new on the job, you start working for a new company, department, what have you, and when you say “How come we’re doing this like this?” and they’re like “That’s the Way We've Always Done It”. Well when I was in the military and I contracted later on, we had a phrase that we called “3 Ring Binder Syndrome”. Some of you young crumb-crunchers may not know what a 3 ring binder is, but older folks know what that is.

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It’s that big, thick, plastic 3 ring binder that has all of the S.O.P.’s [Standard Operating Procedure] for the department, company, whatever. The agency S.O.P.’s are in the 3 ring binder, that’s the Holy Grail, that’s the Gospel according to the bosses. Now many times that 3 ring binder and those S.O.P.’s are were put together a long time ago. In the case of the military, obviously the U.S. Military has been active since, the time of the revolutionary war, right? We started writing things down, writing S.O.P.’s, and they got passed over (x3), and before you know it we’re doing things in certain ways, conducting business in certain ways, that no one understands.

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They don’t know why they’re doing it or why this is the best way, they just know “That’s the Way We've Always Done It”. If you’ve been with a company or an agency for such time, it’s easy just to fall into the “Well that’s the Way We've Always Done It, and it still seems to work so… we’re just gonna keep doing it.” It’s very hard, when you’re on the inside, so see issues with fresh eyes. It’s usually the people who show up from the outside. For instance, when I was a contractor, I showed up at this one unit, and before I got involved in the teaching, I and a couple of other guys stood back, and we just observed the classes.

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Not everything was crazy, but occasionally we’d encounter a situation where the 3 of us would look at each other and be like “They said what?” and we knew based off our experience and education, a lot of what they were teaching was outdated and there were better ways. When we would question them, the existing cadre(?), most often they’d say “That’s the Way We've Always Done It” or they would point at the physical 3 ring binder and say “That’s what it says to do, right in there.” Okay, that’s great. I’m sure that’s true, and that it says to do that in there. But when is the last time anyone considered why we do what we do?

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*Grumbling* I say this often but, heart surgery. If you had to go in to have heart surgery, would you want someone using the 1970 S.O.P. for heart surgery, or would you want him using the 2018 S.O.P. for heart surgery? You’re like “well heart surgery worked in the 1970’s”, yeah it did, but why aren’t we doing it the same way? You say “Well today we have more technology, more experience and information, we can do it better.” Okay, we can do it better. But using the 3 ring binder mentality you say “We’re never gonna change it, because that’s the way it’s always been done.

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If we’re going to be honest with each other, I’d say the majority of us will agree that “That’s the Way We've Always Done It” or the 3 ring binder syndrome, that is just an excuse for mediocrity or laziness. Because to re-examine the 3 ring binder, we would have to apply effort and time. Somebody would have to go back, read that stuff, consider if there was a better or more efficient way of doing it, and then rewrite the S.O.P. Then they’re like *Mocking Grumbles*, “that’s extra work and I’m not doin’ it!” Yeah.

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So what happens? We have companies and agencies, who just keep doing things the same way. Now I’m not saying to be an a-hole, don’t jump in a Mr. Smartmouth and say “You old guys don’t know what you’re doing”, because often they do know what they’re doing because they have 30 years of experience. But at the same time, say you do have that fresh set of eyes. Someone who’s new in the unit, and they’ve never seen the way you do thing, or they see it and question it.

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You could say “Shut up, That’s the Way We've Always Done It” or, you could explain to the new guy, “You know that way you’re suggesting, we tried it and we found that it didn’t work. This is why.” I found that in the training arena, you’d have new ways of doing things. New guys would come in like “This is the newest way and this is they way everyone’s doing it today.” After a few classes, a few hundred students, what we would find is that all the students in the classes, or different students in different classes, were making the same errors & mistakes.

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So what did we learn? On paper that way may seem like the best way, but in practical application, it doesn’t. Now I’m not telling you that “The Way you've Always Done It” is always wrong. But sometimes “That’s the Way We've Always Done It” is used as an excuse not to think and to be lazy. So this episode of Morning Mindset is brought to you by a book called “Faith and the Patriot: A Belief Worth Fighting For”. It’s available on Amazon, as a Paperback or Kindle version, and it’s written by yours truly Paul G. Markel. Alright guys I’ll talk to you again, real soon.


[OUTRO]

♫ Trenches by Pop Evil ♫

*Alex*

Thank you for spending time with us today. To get show notes, submit a topic request, for more from your host Paul G. Markel, visit MorningMindsetPodcast.com. That’s MorningMindsetPodcast.com. Please leave a review of this podcast on your favorite podcast player, we appreciate your time & effort, and we look forward to reading your honest feedback.