The Roast With The Ends Cut Off

Self - By: David Guest
Business Coaching Article | Ten Principles of Leadership

Business owners are challenged by change every day. Now more than ever, for a business to succeed, the owner must be more flexible and adaptable. Your ability to change with the times is directly proportional to your success in your business and your life.

Too many times we resist change. We love the status quo, even though it may not be giving us what we need.
In my workshops, I use the story of the pot roast with the ends cut off as a great analogy to put things into perspective.

One day a good friend of mine, Harry invited me over for dinner. It was “pot roast night” and he had been raving about his wife’s secret family recipe and how I would have never tasted a roast so good.

Sure enough, as expected, dinner was nothing less than spectacular. But I did notice something peculiar.

As the roast was being served on the table and the pot was being opened, I noticed that the roast had been cooked with its ends cut off… Being naïve, I asked the question, “Why are the ends cut off the roast like that?” The answer I got was “I’m not sure, that’s the way my mother used to cook it.” With no further explanation, I enjoyed stuffing my face on this spectacular feast. Harry was right, the roast dinner was absolutely brilliant!

A few weeks later, Harry came rushing into my office with a look of excitement on his face. He blurted out, “I must tell you the story of the pot roast….”

Last week my wife had her family reunion, and while we were chatting, the question of the famous pot roast came to my mind. I asked Mary’s mother, “Why do you cut the ends of your pot roast that way before you cook it?” She answered, “I’m not really sure, that’s the way my mother taught me to do it.”

Luckily the whole family was there and grandma was busy entertaining the grandchildren with stories of the good old days. I finally had a chance to get her attention and ask about the famous family recipe for the pot roast. She started to giggle, which turned into a belly laugh as I told her how her famous recipe had been handed down through the generations and no one was really sure how cutting the ends off the roast made it taste so good.

She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Harry, this is the funniest story I have ever heard….I’m glad to hear that my recipe has had such a great response, but the only reason that I used to cut the ends of my roast, was because I didn’t have a pot big enough to fit it in…” “I burst out into fits of laughter with her as she really made my day” said Harry.

But then I started to realize that as stupid as that sounded, I was doing the exact same thing in my business. Doing things the old traditional ways because the old tradesman used to say “that’s the way we’ve always done it…that’s when I realized that it wasn’t only me or my wife that had fallen for this trap, but almost everyone I knew had done this to some level…”

How many times in your life have you done things “the way they have always been done?” Only to realize that there is no real reasoning behind it…. This is by far the most common cause of frustration and lack of progress in both our personal and business lives.

Remember, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got”.
Sometimes we need to review the way we do even the most basic of tasks in our lives. All it takes is a fresh perspective, and we can easily overcome what appear to be insurmountable obstacles to our success and growth.