Bad habits typically do not garner serious attention until there are serious problems. Every single one of us can reference multiple situations where if certain habits would have been changed proactively, the disastrous result(s) could have been avoided. We all have personal bad habits and there are usually one or two that if changed, would be the catalyst for creating new habits that positively affect our health, success and happiness. The same applies to organizations.
Leaders are tasked with identifying bad habits in themselves and within the organization, and then picking off the main catalyst habits and focusing on replacing them with good habits. Leaders have to focus on both their personal habits and the habits of the organization, because at their engagement level they become interconnected. It is quite difficult to lead if not leading yourself, and it is also difficult to motivate others to pull together for change if they do not believe you are capable yourself.
Some people/organizations have no bad habits as defined by society. They don’t smoke, drink, gamble, etc., in their personal lives, and the organization is not unethical, nor does it over-spend, etc. However, the real question for those that do not have obvious bad habits, is if the habits they do have are good? The reality is….. to not have good habits, is to have bad habits. A person may not have the obvious personal bad habits, however they may form habits that are detrimental to their productivity. Maybe they are not consistently working out, and instead begin filling time by watching some ridiculous reality show. This is not a horrible habit, but if they do this instead of working out and taking care of their body, it should be considered a bad habit – especially if that is the only time of day they have time to take care of themselves physically. In an organization, everything may be running just fine, but there are always habits that need to be changed, especially if growth is an initiative.
As leaders, we must identify bad habits and replace with good habits that are catalysts for creating even more good habits. This objective is not a one time event. Bad habits are perpetually and easily formed, therefore focusing on them must be ingrained in our leadership style at all times.