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My Relationship with the Watermelon

June 15, 2012

I love watermelons.  It’s been my favorite fruit ever since I was a child.  But here is the thing, I will only eat it one way: when it’s sliced with surgical precision in bite-size cubes, the way my mother has done it for me and my brother growing up.  Don’t bother serving me a triangular wedge.  It’s clearly not edible.

We experience this exact phenomenon at work.  Concepts and activities can become so ritualized with time that we not only accept them as fact, but also refuse to consider alternatives.  This is how process bureaucracy grows.

But this is also the secret to making new changes stick — reinforcement through repetition.  Apply a new change for a length of time without succumbing to the temptation of concluding prematurely on the outcome and calling it quits too soon.

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