One of the biggest lessons I learned working in the hotel industry was the difference between “old” and “dirty”. My boss, the general manager, would regularly tour the hotel with the housekeeping director and they would talk about furniture being old and/or dirty.
The director had no control over old furniture. Old meant it was worn or dated. But she did have control over dirty. Dirty means it needs to be cleaned. And you can clean old furniture. Obviously, the GM knows it’s a sound business principle to clean the furniture as long as it’s still in good enough shape to use.
I can’t help but wonder if we sometimes apply the “old and dirty” analogy to business concepts. For example, a concept like personal branding is old (i.e. meaning it’s been around a long time) and because it has been around for years, people mistake it for not being effective or overused and abused (aka “dirty”).
Maybe like old furniture, we’ve decided to disregard it and only pay attention to the new, hip topics. The ones that we consider sexy.
IMHO, it’s just as important to talk about the hottest trends and their potential impact as it is to discuss the tried and true concepts and how they might change / evolve over time. Or, even if they don’t change that much, that doesn’t mean they’re no longer just as relevant or critical to our professional development. Just like we need to balance theoretical knowledge and practical experience; we have to also balance the old with the new.
The last thing any of us want to do is throw out a perfectly good piece of furniture, when all it needs is a good cleaning.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.