Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book Notes - The Power of Habit

My wife and older daughter picked this up for me for my birthday last September and I only got to reading it last month. It's a phenomenal read for anyone involved in leadership or influence. Later on, I realized that two of my favorite leaders also learned a ton from this book. [1, 2]. Go get it please.

Cue -> Routine -> Reward

When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit - unless you find new routines - the pattern will unfold automatically.

… it is possible to learn and make unconscious choices without remembering anything about the lesson or decision making.

Cravings are what drive habits. And figuring out how to spark a craving makes creating a new habit easier.

Tony Dungy's coaching philosophy: He wanted to get players to stop making so many decisions during a game. He wanted them to react automatically, habitually. If he could instill the right habits, his team would win. Period.

Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.

For a habit to stay changed, people must believe change is possible. And most often, that belief only emerges with the help of a group.

Paul O'Neill and Alcoa: O'Neill focused on worker safety, which would signify excellence.
Michael Phelps - his coach focused on his habits.

This is the final way that keystone habits encourage widespread change: by creating cultures where new values become ingrained. Keystone habits make tough choices - such as firing a top executive - easier, because when that person violates the culture, it's clear they have to go.

Starbucks training - 137K current employees - 1M alumni. Starbucks is one of the nation's largest educators.

At the core of that education is an intense focus on an all-important habit: willpower. Dozens of studies show that willpower is the single most important keystone habit for individual success.

Willpower isn't just a skill. It's a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there's less power left over for other things.

This is how willpower becomes a habit: by choosing a certain behavior ahead of time, and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives.

There are no organizations without institutional habits. There are only places where they are deliberately designed, and places where they are created without forethought, so they often grow from rivalries or fear.
But sometimes, even destructive habits can be transformed by leaders who know how to seize the right opportunities. Sometimes, in the heat of a crisis, the right habits emerge.

Creating successful organizations isn't just a matter of balancing authority. For an organization to work, leaders must cultivate habits that both create a real and balanced peace and, paradoxically, make it absolutely clear who's in charge.

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

A movement starts because of the social habits of friendship and the strong ties between social acquaintances.
It grows because of the habits of a community, and the weak ties that hold neighborhoods and clans together.
And it endures because a movement's leaders give participants new habits that create a fresh sense of identity and a feeling of ownership.

[Rosa] Park's friends, in contrast, spanned Montgomery's social and economic hierarchies. She had what sociologists call 'strong ties' - first hand relationships - with dozens of groups throughout Montgomery that didn't usually come into contact with one another.

Every Saddleback member is asked to sign a maturity covenant card promising to adhere to three habits: daily quiet time for reflection and prayer, tithing 10 percent of their income and membership in a small group. Giving everyone new habits has become a focus of the church.

For an idea to grow beyond a community, it must become self-propelling. And the surest way to achieve that is to give people new habits that help them figure out where to go on their own.

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