New goals, old habitsIn the second installment of this summer series, I am eager to talk about The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg — a book about how one can create changes in life and business through the power of repetitive actions and positive reinforcements. 

The book is an excellent read because it provides both historical examples of lessons being reinforced (such as references to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the creation of Starbucks), as well as personal tidbits that people can apply to their everyday lives. The underlying lesson of creating a successful habit is consistent application of the same behavior that is reinforced by a positive association. According to scientific research explained in this book, a behavior becomes habit when you do something 66 days in a row. The idea that you can change your mantra through conscious physical and mental exercise is encouraging to both business owners and individuals. For example, if you wanted to incentivize yourself to work out everyday, you may pair the workout with a subsequent trip to your favorite coffee shop as a reinforcer. 

Business leaders can use these principles to create positive habits among employees and staff. Here’s how: 

  1. Create a Handbook: Organize the critical processes and procedures of your company. This is important because, as employees become part of your business culture, you need to empower them with repetition of expectations, specifically regarding customer service and how to finalize a product. 
  2. Provide Continuous Feedback on Performance: If you have a concept that you want to emphasize, or if you want people to behave in a certain manner, then reinforce the behavior so that employees begin to instinctively act the way that you expect them to. Help your employees find personal value in the behavior by recognizing employees with growth potential, status, or awards (you can even use monetary rewards like gift cards, etc.).
  3. Know Your Customer Needs Before They Do: Duhigg’s book references a specific story about how Target was able to analyze data on its customers to determine when they were going through a significant life event, like a pregnancy. Although not everybody has access to that type of data analysis, all companies have information on their clients which can be used to anticipate future behavior. Anticipating future needs and trends in your industry through analyses of your clients’ behavior may uncover a new product or service line that will propel your company to the next level. Therefore, a critical habit for employees in your business is to continually review your data to find new areas to explore instead of forcing what is already known or common knowledge. 

Take-away: Charles Duhigg’s book is applicable to small business owners. Continually improve your best practices through reinforcement and refinement. All businesses must habitually search for excellence and not settle for the status quo. 

Contact us with your questions.
Brian Califano & Scott MargolinBrian Califano

Scott Margolin

Co-founders & Managing Partners

AcceleratingCFO


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