Change Ineffective Habits and Gets Results

Allowing employees, managers and executives to ‘get away with’ behaving inappropriately is what destroys a healthy culture and impedes great performances. We get what we tolerate. Whether the bad behaviors and habits are from the one employee who’s always late to meetings serving up some lame excuse or eliminating interruptions from a colleague who’s rarely listening during meetings to the manager who chooses to ignore the meeting’s going’s on in favor of hammering away on their phone, there’s ineffective habits we allow, as leaders and managers. We perpetuate a culture ill equipped to handle let alone overcome significant changes during easy times heaven forbid during a crisis.

If you don’t change anything, then what results do you think you will get?

How do we take one step forward and tackle the crap we tend to put up with? Here’s 3 simple, powerful and practical strategies you can implement today, if…IF you have the stones to follow through daily (the one step many choose to avoid):

Catch Them Doing it Right – people need to know where the boundaries are for good and acceptable habits against those that are not. Surfacing habits in the moment creates space to discuss how things actually happen without judgment. Lead your team in creating a list of the habits that they see and start small with something easily accomplished, e.g., arriving at meetings on time.

Show Me the Finish Line – choose and set goals for one new habit. When the group defines the one new habit together, you and your team will commit to, with a clear and unambiguous focus on how each person will show up and make the acceptable habit a reality.

Step Up – an obvious lead by example requires and expects you to be the first one to adopt and the last one who’d negotiate the habit standard. Simply put you lead by example or get the hell out of the way and have someone else perform in the role you’re unwilling or unable to accomplish – remember IT’s a choice!

It is serious and it is fun if you decide to make it so by leading, coaching and developing people in the moment – not 2 days, 2 weeks or 6 months later. “It’s really not convenient,” no shit, leading is NEVER convenient and never has been. I’m not asking you to change your introverted self to become charismatic, nor are you asked to become miss group-hug ‘luvu guy or gal’. I’m asking you to step up, step out and lead the people in your charge, in your care. Whether that’s injecting excitement, humor whatever is your personality style into the formation of new behaviors is a great first step. It’s critical because, inevitably, you will be challenged to have frank conversations about people’s progress – the good and the not.

How will you know or what’s the accountability of it all?

In every work environment the leader must be dialed-in to the modality of each member of their team. Here are some additional hot takes for you to adopt, adapt or personalize for yourself:

Visual, written or spoken reminders in person, one-at-a-time keeps the Habits list top of mind with every meeting.

Another pearl is stop scheduling or accepting back-to-back meetings before the leadership team meeting, allow a minimum of 20 minutes margin.

And, at the end of each meeting—sharp on the minute—stand up, thank everyone for their contributions and leave the room.

Some of you will say that’s impossible. It is if you allow it to be – it’s a choice. Too many allow ineffective and unproductive behaviors from above your role level to compromise what you know, and they know too, is unrealistic. They may not tell you that, but they’re facing similar circumstances and situations also.

During the COVID crisis, one of the global brands in our city faced a similar situation and they came to me bitching about lower productivity. The root cause of this perceived LP issue wasn’t lower productivity in the slightest. It’s a lack of trust from the Tier II leaders to their VP’s, directors and senior managers. The perception was, “…if we aren’t having meetings all day long addressing [EVERY] issue then we’re not working hard enough.” Total bullshit and I called them out on it! Just say it! You don’t trust the 15,000 people working from home.

What we instituted at global brand company was simple – no meetings back-to-back without a margin of 20-30 minutes. No more than 4 meetings per day. Get up and out of your home office and take in fresh air or exercise or whatever every 2 hours. Get away! The lack of trust burns people out, lowers productivity, increases the chances of negative mental health and on and on.

Here’s another example from the education field. The traditional school day runs from 8am to 3pm. Why? Fill in your answer here. Chances are everyone of them will be mostly accurate. What’s the traditional school day for a long-distance learning program, or a home education program? It’s about 4 hours on average. Why? Because you’re not dealing with distractions, interruptions and erroneous bullshit.

Back to our case study and the 3 solutions. Is it foolproof? No, but it worked and continues to work! Will they slip up? Yes, and at times having a brief conversation about it and move on resolves the accountability portion. The leader is pleased to see new habits rippling through the organization. There will be continual progress and continual problems…that’s why we have leaders and solutions. If you’d like to know more about how we go about working with businesses large and small, simply click this link for a no obligation conversation and no pitch either. If that’s too warm and fuzzy for you and you’d like to do more research, then simply download our First Steps guidebook here and discover what sets the top 5% of leaders apart. You’ll also get the 3 keys to effective leadership, the 7-step blueprint of top business leaders and gain insights on the 4 domains of Elegant Leadership with Voltage and which one matters most.

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