We love our business manager, Karen Parker, and  we’d feel lost without her amazing skills, steadfast care and phenomenal customer service. We also know that there are some things she does “Karen’s Way,” and that is not changing. 

How can you detect, avoid or otherwise deal with sacred cows in your organization?

A sacred cow is a way of working or a type of work that people resist changing. Sometimes it’s just a “we’ve-always-done-it” resistance, and other times it’s just because they like it. It’s fun or meets a particular need.

How do you kindly tip the sacred cow?

First, define the results you need to achieve. If this pet project or manner of working doesn’t achieve the necessary results, it’s time to put it out to pasture.

Cultivate a sense of urgency. Like Stephen Quesnelle of Mitel, Inc, make it your mission to ask, “What is getting in the way?” and “What doesn’t really add value?” and “How can we do this better and faster?” Quesnelle went over the top and made it visible, decorating his office in cow posters, life-size cow replicas and a cow calendar.

Forget about it. Some of “Karen’s Way” is just fine, thank you very much. So what if it isn’t the maximally productive way and costs her 2.12 minutes per week? Let her have her fun, and those 2.12 minutes will generate positive energy and enthusiasm!

There’s a book on change by David Brandt called “Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers.” You might not want to devour all of yours, but sacred cows should be on your menu.


Let’s lasso your sacred cows.

Photo from iStockphoto.