In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an interesting argument: the key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. With this understanding you can learn how to stop bad habits and create good habits for not only yourself, but also your organization. The nine lessons I learned from this book are:
1. Habits are formed when a cue motivates an individual to act in a certain way because he or she associates a reward with the cue and behavior (Cue > Behavior > Reward).
2. Effective change can begin by creating just one good habit. This habit will motivate the organization to develop additional good habits. Start with one keystone habit that can create enormous positive energy inside your organization.
3. The best performing companies are those that have routines.
4. The worst performing companies do not have routines; the leaders do not recognize the importance of process.
5. Avoid constant fire drills. Constant stress erodes a person’s willpower. Proper work/life balance will increase a person’s ability to perform at work and make better decisions. (By the way, work/life balance for business owners usually does not translate to 50/50 or 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday.) It usually equates to 100 percent focus on business at certain times and 100 percent focus on family and personal interests during other times)
6. The best way to increase willpower is to build positive habits.
7. Positive habits increase self-discipline. Research shows that self-discipline is a better predicator of success than a high IQ.
8. Company habits improve a leader’s ability to delegate. Employees displaying habits feel more in control of their work and decisions, a key workplace motivator.
9. Five tenants to support positive habits and the Performance Culture System, which I created for Cornerstone Business Advisors:
1. Create a company vision and mission that is shared by all. Help employees understand how their personal visions will be achieved by achieving the company vision.
2. Ensure consistency through effective leadership and process.
3. Reward and recognize good behaviors.
4. Hold employees accountable. Enforce consequences for negative behaviors; when an employee violates the company culture, they must go.
5. A written plan with weekly updates will encourage good habits to flourish. Research has shown that people on diets or on exercise plans do better when they write down their plans and document their activities in a journal. The same is true for the Performance Culture System. Writing down your plans creates clarity and forces you to think through actions.
Cornerstone Business Advisors provides access to experts in business strategy, management, process and finance. The Cornerstone team includes former C-Level executives, successful entrepreneurs and advisors who offer unmatched experience in delivering advanced, custom-tailored, results-oriented solutions for business leaders. Cornerstone has worked with hundreds of companies that range from fast-growth start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. It developed the Performance Culture System™ to help clients implement best practices and drive high performance throughout their organization. For more information, visit www.launchgrowexit.com, call 910-681-1420, or email [email protected].
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The 2023 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.