Status quo bias is when we, by default, prefer the current state of things.
The telltale sign of this is often an answer that is lacking, like:
“Well. I don’t know. Because we have always done it that way.”
My favorite example of this was a story (joke?) my father told me years ago.
A young woman is following her mom’s instructions for cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. It says to cut the back part of the Turkey off before putting it in the pan to bake. The woman wonders why, and goes to ask her mom about it. The mom is unsure, but says that is what she did because that is how Grandma always did it. They eventually go and ask Grandma. Grandma says: “Oh, years ago we did that because we had a small oven – and the Turkey wouldn’t fit unless we cut part of it off.”
Sometimes the status quo exists for a reason.
Often that reason is flawed.
Instead of taking the status quo for granted, ask why it exists in the first place. When you remember that rules and systems were created by people, it becomes clear that they’re not set in stone—and you begin to consider how they can be improved.
-Adam Grant, Originals