Change is hard, especially when it involves habits. Habits are often subconscious and automatic. The manager who does not engage with her team on the floor may be in the habit of getting caught up reading reports in her office and the colleague who jumps to conclusions may be in the habit of looking for the fastest answer without realizing it. Anyone who has tried going on a diet can tell you that habits can trump skill, will and good sense. So how do we break them?
Humans learn new habits through repetition. Visual management such as physical reminders or checklists can help ensure tasks are done repeatedly. Another tactic is to make a physical or environmental change. Want to stop checking social media 10 times an hour? Change your smartphone’s screen to be black and white so that it is less enticing. Some teams have been able to adopt new ways of working more easily when they move to new desks. Repetition is key because generally speaking, the more humans are exposed to something the more they will like it. Parisians hated the Eiffel Tower when it was built but it is now rare to hear criticism of the structure that has become the city’s icon. Are there ways to expose teams to new ways of working that will become habitual in time?
Are there behaviors affecting you or your team that are habits? What can be done to make the repetition and forming of new habits easier?