The comfort of convention

Flashback Covid lockdown in Mar-April 2020… we were craving for muhammara – the tasty middle Eastern dip.

I don’t love cooking, yet I am a good cook when I decide to…

The craving was so intense, I decided to give it a shot. I looked for recipes, I had all ingredients except pomegranate molasses. There was no chance of getting one at a time when even the essentials were scarce.

I thought of using honey and lemon instead of molasses…Oh no! I wasn’t ready to experiment (didn’t want to hurt my image!!)

My hunt for alternate recipes began – I went on for hours till I managed to find one that suggested an alternate.  Guess what?? Lemon and jaggery.

So, finally I made the muhammara, and I must say it turned out yummy…

Why was I so reluctant to try something outside of a recipe?

Guess, it was my fear of failure without the safety net of a recipe. I might have made a tasteless muhammara even with pomegranate molasses – but I would have something to save my honor…a poor recipe that I followed.

Let’s take it a step further to our work and preferences – While working on a task or an important project, will I take a conventional or an unconventional approach?

The project may fail either way, but which failure is less daunting?

Conventional, right? I follow the process, the norms, use all prescribed tools… yet I fail. So, the failure is not about me, but the approach.

On the contrary, when I fail using an unconventional approach, there’s all but me to blame! I would have to take accountability of my failure.

So, the openness to fail conventionally (over unconventionally) is understandable. Yet, what does it mean – our lives? work? organizations?

The implications are well captured in a quote by Albert Einstein “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”

Question for organizations is to reflect: what can be done by leaders / managers / teams to break the comfort in conventional..

One thought on “The comfort of convention

  1. I hold 2 aspects for such issues Padma

    1. Leadership-for not creating an environment that encourages ideas
    2. The employee conundrum-should I do something even if it’s not necessary or do it if I feel it’s necessary.

    In today’s times, a lot of times people decide to do something that is different even if it’s not necessary. And I equate as always with a cricket analogy. There are 2 runs required in 5 balls. Should I attempt a six and risk getting out or should I take 2 singles and ensure a victory.

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