Tradition can hold you back

This time of year, a lot of what we do (from decorating, to baking, to greeting cards) is driven by tradition. I have a number of ornaments on our Christmas tree that were on my grandparents’ tree… and someday, they will be passed on to my nieces and nephew. I can’t imagine not putting my big, fat Italian nativity set out on a table somewhere prominent. We have family recipes that have been handed down through generations for special treats that we only make this time of year. And, we look forward to seeing the tradition of the person ringing a bell next to a red kettle each year because it means that Christmas time is here (at least they don’t start ringing that bell before Halloween!).

Tradition connects us

Tradition is important and relevant in a lot of ways… the handing down of customs and/or beliefs from generation to generation keeps us connected to our heritage. I can’t imagine Christmas dinner without delicious homemade Italian food — it’s a tradition that keeps us connected to our heritage.

Sometimes tradition can hold you back — embracing new traditions

Sometimes we get stuck in traditions in our business. We all have certain ways of doing things — operations, processes, etc. that we may never take the time to evaluate. Is there a better way to do that now? Can you imagine going back to the cost of sending out hundreds of newsletters via first class U.S. Mail versus an e-newsletter. What if the only way you could communicate with clients/customers was via telephone?

Yes, remember when telephone was the traditional (ONLY) way for “instant” communication? Now we have texts and e-mails. . . but, again caution should be exercised when using those as well. They have no voice inflection, no emotion (even with emoji’s) and what you communicate in a text or e-mail can be misconstrued if the recipient doesn’t have your vocal intonation to complete the communication circle. We’ve all had it happen, we’ve gotten an e-mail that upset us, made us angry or hurt—and it turns out that what we read isn’t what the sender thought they were communicating at all.

This morning, in a meeting, I was talking with a client about how they communicate with their renewal memberships. They client shared that they send an e-mail saying “Thanks for renewing…”. But, the client also shared that they have a very low open rate of those e-mails. We discussed that perhaps it’s better (especially when someone is spending hundreds of dollars to renew) to send a good old “traditional” thank you card.

So there you have my thoughts, tradition is important. It’s important to be open to new tradition, but sometimes, especially in business, you need to keep some of the old traditions too.

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