Fifty Reasons Why Things Don’t Change

E. F. Borisch, a Product Manager for the Milwaukee Gear Company, sat down one afternoon and wrote out a list of fifty reasons why things don’t change. Here is that list:

fifty reasons why things don't change

  1. We’ve never done it before.
  2. Nobody else has ever done it.
  3. It has never been tried before.
  4. We tried it before.
  5. Another company/person tried it before.
  6. We’ve been doing it this way for 25 years.
  7. It won’t work in a small company.
  8. It won’t work in a large company.
  9. It won’t work in our company.
  10. Why change — it’s working OK.
  11. The boss will never buy it.
  12. It needs further investigation.
  13. Our competitors are not doing it.
  14. It’s too much trouble to change.
  15. Our company is different.
  16. The ad department says it can’t be done.
  17. The sales department says it can’t be done.
  18. The service department won’t like it.
  19. The janitor says it can’t be done.
  20. It can’t be done.
  21. We don’t have the money.
  22. We don’t have the personnel.
  23. We don’t have the equipment.
  24. The union will scream.
  25. It’s too visionary.
  26. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
  27. It’s too radical a change.
  28. It’s beyond my responsibility.
  29. It’s not my job.
  30. We don’t have the time.
  31. It will obsolete other procedures.
  32. Customers won’t buy it.
  33. It’s contrary to policy.
  34. It will increase overhead.
  35. The employees will never buy it.
  36. It’s not our problem.
  37. I don’t like it.
  38. You’re right, but ….
  39. We’re not ready for it.
  40. It needs more thought.
  41. Management won’t accept it.
  42. We can’t take the chance.
  43. We’d lose money on it.
  44. It takes too long to pay out.
  45. We’re doing all right as it is.
  46. It needs committee study.
  47. Competition won’t like it.
  48. It needs sleeping on.
  49. It won’t work in this department.
  50. It’s impossible.

Here’s the kicker. Mr. Borisch, Product Manager for the Milwaukee Gear Company, wrote this list of “Fifty Reasons Things Don’t Change” nearly 60 years ago! It first appeared in the publication, Product Engineering, on July 20, 1959.

It’s true. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Don’t believe me? Well, here we are 60 years later. If you were to write down a list of the attitudes found in today’s workplace about embracing change, how similar/different would that list be?


John Mitton is President of the full-service recruitment advertising agency, Mitton Media®.  Offering multimedia recruitment advertising strategies and tactics that blend traditional and non-traditional media platforms, Mitton Media® gives employers the competitive edge they need to be successful in today’s competitive workplace.

A SHRM Pinnacle Award winner, Mitton co-authored and teaches the highly entertaining and informative HR training workshop, “Beyond Post & Pray: Effective Recruitment Advertising Strategies for Today’s Multi-Generational Workplace.” He is the creator of the popular JOBS PIPELINE® podcast series and speaks frequently to professional, industrial, and university organizations.


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