“Lots of people do it that way”

I have had a great 2 week holiday in Puglia, in Italy. A wonderfully historic area – so much so that it is easy to take much of it for granted.

We enjoyed some wonderful food, nearly always beautifully presented along with some great service.

Then there was the driving …… driving in Italy is a scary experience. Speed limit signs seem to be interpreted as giving guidance about the minimum speed. Give way signs seem to have been coated with an invisible paint. Parking regulations are ignored on every hill, bend, corner and pavement.

The scary thing was, that by the end of the 2 weeks I almost found myself beginning to drive like a local. It took a real conscious effort to maintain the rules; rules which seemed eminently reasonable to me.

It started me to thinking about situations and circumstances where we choose the ‘bad practice’ route because it has become normal practice.  “Lots of people do it that way” is the cry.

Look at the stories that hit the headlines where this has happened. The many and seemingly ongoing banking scandals, MPs expense claims, the mis-selling of insurance, the bad advice over endowment policies. The list goes on.

It takes a brave individual (or a group of individuals in the case of institutions and corporations) to maintain good practices even though others have allowed bad practices to become the norm.

My world predominantly revolves around workplaces – an area where we are seeing some great initiatives taken, where people are being put at the centre of the strategy and design process. However, it is far from perfect in many areas, and we need to ensure that we avoid bad practices (you can decide what they might be) becoming standard practices just because “Lots of people do it that way”

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About Mark Catchlove

All views are my own
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