In the book, “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World ” by Adam Grant, he shares a really interesting story about people who went with Internet Explorer on their computers at work, versus those using Chrome and Firefox:
Why are the Firefox and Chrome users more committed and better performers on every metric?
The obvious answer was that they’re more tech savvy, so I asked Housman if he could explore that. The employees had all taken a computer proficiency test, which assessed their knowledge of keyboard shortcuts, software programs, and hardware, as well as a timed test of their typing speed. But the Firefox and Chrome group didn’t prove to have significantly more computer expertise, and they weren’t faster or more accurate typists. Even after accounting for those scores, the browser effect persisted. Technical knowledge and skill weren’t the source of their advantage.
What made the difference was how they obtained the browser. If you own a PC, Internet Explorer is built into Windows. If you’re a Mac user, your computer came preinstalled with Safari. Almost two thirds of the customer service agents used the default browser, never questioning whether a better one was available.
To get Firefox or Chrome, you have to demonstrate some resourcefulness and download a different browser. Instead of accepting the default, you take a bit of initiative to seek out an option that might be better. And that act of initiative, however tiny, is a window into what you do at work.
…We live in an Internet Explorer world. Just as almost two thirds of the customer service reps used the default browser on their computers, many of us accept the defaults in our own lives. (Grant, 2016)
Such a simple thing, but do we actually encourage kids to take that “initiative” and deter others that already do? Do we do the same things to teachers?
Think of this simple little thing…have you ever been part of a school or known of a teacher that was actually told NOT to download a browser other than Internet Explorer on a computer because it doesn’t fit into the guidelines of what is “allowed”? Such a little thing, but if you look past the browser, did we actually deter those that were willing to push further to do something better for themselves and those kids?
Culture is not just the “big things”, but it becomes all of the little things added up. It is great to promote initiative, but deterring it is simply unacceptable.