Saturday, May 10, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

If they’re no longer working and continue to not work, replace them. What am I talking about? Old habits. Why in the world would you want to hang onto something that doesn't work for you when you have a choice?

Not only do individuals get buried in the past but when organizational culture enables this, the organization as a whole buries itself in the past and struggles to rise past it.

To combat this we need leaders who will look at human capital, not only financial bottom line, so people evolve and are well managed. It’s not only about the mechanics of how an organization works and leading them through an organizational change; it’s all about the people who run and work within it.

There are so many maverick thinkers in this world and if they’re not well managed and given a framework within which they can thrive and grow (in an organizational context), they will end up doing things their own way and pushing the buttons of everyone around them.

Leaders might manage process, as that’s how an organization’s nuts and bolts work, but they also have to lead their people within that framework. That way their amazing talents can be harnessed and benefit everyone concerned.

There is way too much energy spent on the bottom line, or cutting organizational overhead costs, support systems and human based components. Where a great deal of energy has to be spent so an organization can evolve and grow is in growing its people; paying attention to their uniqueness. Maverick thinkers or not, once you harness their passion and energy and show them the way forward, and that frameworks aren't something to fear but in fact a vehicle to success, they can leave the old habits by the wayside and create new ones that fit a future of their own design, not one of habit.

I’m not sure why old habits are hard to change (I don’t much like the ‘break’ term) especially when those habits no longer serve them. What I do know is there’s something very enticing to holding onto history, forgetting all the stuff that didn’t work and remembering only what did i.e. selective memory.

"Habits...the only reason they persist is that they are offering some satisfaction...You allow them to persist by not seeking any other, better form of satisfying the same needs. Every habit, good or bad, is acquired and learned in the same way - by finding that it is a means of satisfaction." - Juliene Berk

Toss those old habits and design those you want to adopt for the future and you’ll see a shift beyond anything you ever imagined.

Donna Karlin

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