Habits – The Power of Trained Behaviors

Habitual Power – Necessity of a CEO

By Dede Gossage/Program Coordinator

Some people are very good at being disciplined.  Developmental training that leads to disciplined behavior typically begins during a child’s formative years. I’m no athlete and didn’t grow up in an athletic familly.  I exercised, but not on a regular basis with deliberate intent to be physically fit. My doctor once told me that after the age of 50, I would  lose 15% of my body muscle mass every 10 years.  As a result, I started an all out assault on my body with a workout routine several times a week and then I followed up with a Starbucks caramel macchiato on the way home from the gym. Sadly, habits can also be hard to break. I am still struggling with a change in my behavors in my exercise ‘routine’.

Routine behaviors usually take hold with frequent reminders and routine followed up by some kind of reward (not necessarily good, but with an intrinsically desired outcome).   Many CEO’s are repetitive about their company message, especially if they are involved in something they are passionate about. Football coaching pro Tony Dungy is well known for his successful coaching career with the Indianapolis Colts . His strategy, getting his players to respond automatically to their opponents’ visual cues; led to disciplined methods and changed behavior by his players.  By eliminating the need for momentary hesitation in the decision-making play process (repetition) he was able to achieve a successful outcome with his team.

Howard Schultz’s deliberate and repetitive branding methods transformed a product known only as a commodity (coffee) into a branded drink preference. Our behaviors were influenced by a relentless (frequency) branding campaign that included the coffee ‘experience’ (sounds, smells, atmosphere) when visiting a Starbucks retail store. From beans to brew we were persuaded to pay more for a cup of coffee with a trademarked siren on the cup. Have you had your Starbucks today?

Closer to home, under president and C.E.O. Carol Burrell’s direction, N. E Georgia Medical Systems (NGHS) implemented Lean Six Sigma principles that led to a change in employee empowerment and efficiencies.  NGHS encourages front-line staff to take personal ownership of patient care excellence.  The result, a redefined policy and practice structure that empowers the employee through the decision making process to make efficient process change. As problems are identified, NGHS forms a multidisciplinary team from different departments to find process solutions. Employee ownership is intrisically rewarding (reward/outcome).

Personal discipline can be challenging.  If we believe we can change, a frequent routine, practiced on a regular basis  may be the best way to create habit and permanent change.  Whether we realize it or not, we are making habitual choices each day at work.“ This is the real power of habit: the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be.”  Gives us all something to think about, doesn’t it?  .

Quoted and Sourced from “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” (Random House) Charles Duhigg.

Today’s App review

Evernote – GO PAPERLESS!

Pros: Ever wish you could remember where you read a quote or a concept or who said it?  As a free app, you can capture many different types of information using your computer, tablet, phone and the web. Save favorite images or web sites. The app is designed for note taking and archiving.  It makes remembering things like a business principle or process or a friend’s contact information a breeze.  Share your notes from a meeting with a colleague or capture important research information on short notice.  Evernote makes it easy for you to go paperless!

Cons: Evernote is a little slower on the iPhone than on the Android.  The tapping through process is somewhat cumbersome (would be better with a few less steps to capture and tag). That’s about it for the Cons!

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