New Wine for New Times

A story has long been told, in the writings of a first century physician named Luke, about the consequences of pouring NEW wine into OLD wineskins; or trying to patch an OLD garment with NEW cloth.

“The result,” said the wise physician, “is that OLD wineskins will be burst open by the potent NEW wine.” In the same way, a new patch sewn over a tear in an old garment only makes the tear worse, as it’s never a perfect match.

The moral of Luke’s story? Let me apply it to today.

Insisting that certain people adopt a “new and better way” of doing something can actually make a situation worse.

On the other hand, some people are so stuck in a rut, so bogged down in their old way of doing things that they would reject something NEW, even if it showed all the earmarks of bringing major improvements into their business and personal lives.

Without even trying a new method these types of individuals will insist, “The old is better!” And trying to convince or force them to except a different NEW way could be counterproductive. It just doesn’t match their personality. But take note: it’s anyone’s personal choice to accept or dismiss a proven better way!

It saddens me when business owners and managers share their fears that they “would lose half” of their staff if they insisted they follow set procedures or abide by strict quality systems. These owner/managers seem to have resigned themselves to the OLD method—”business as usual”—even if that “business” isn’t and hasn’t been working for them.

I guess some people will just set themselves to ignore the pain rather than find a cure! I’m sure Luke the physician was very familiar with that method, back in the day!

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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  • Linda

    I love the analogy – good job of making Luke’s words relevant to the times and the business community.

  • Melissa Sienicki

    So true, Philip! And might I add test, test, test. Test out the different systems – old and new – and go with what works best for your company and your customers.