Leadership: How to Make New Habits Stick?

Last month I shared how important it is for leaders to identify the habits that already make them successful & keep reinforcing those, and, commit to the new habits required for success in 2018.  Next up, how to make new habits stick: How do we, as leaders, help turn a new habit into an old habit?

Keep it Simple: As a starting point, don’t ask or expect too many new habits to be formed at the same time.  The fewer new habits implemented at once increases the chance of success in making them stick. Sometimes one new habit, if it’s the right one, is all that is needed to tip the scales in your favor anyway.

Share the Why. Explaining the why around the new habit and where possible the WIIFM (what’s it in for me?) is extremely helpful to gain buy-in.  All of us respond best if we understand what is behind the need for change and better yet if we can tie it back to a personal benefit.

Communicate. Reinforce the habit by communicating about it regularly. I can’t emphasize this part enough. What we pay attention to happens, what we don’t pay attention to doesn’t. Keep new habits at the forefront. Over communicate. Recognize progress. Share successes along the way. Create momentum. Once success starts to be seen, heard and realized, everyone wants in – so keep communicating!  And,

Lead by Example. If it makes sense to do so, leaders themselves should demonstrate the habit and their personal commitment to making a consistent effort to staying with it.

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It sounds quite straightforward and it is, however, ‘keeping it simple’ as outlined above, is easier said than done. Organizations today, especially global organizations, are not simple, they are highly integrated, fast-moving, complex webs of talented networks, working to simultaneously drive several strategies towards their annual goals and overarching vision.  This breaks down into numerous actions to support each strategy and the potential for quite a few new habits that need to be formed at the same time. Leaders, responsible for delivering results in this environment, require the ability to see the big picture and to have the operational finesse to keep the message as simple as possible to enable execution on the ground. Key for executives today then is prioritizing only the most critical new habits out of the numerous possibilities.

By following these guidelines — keep it simple, share the why, communicate, and lead by example –  even in today’s complex work environments, you will quickly be on the road to success in achieving your 2018 objectives.

Check in with me next month, where I will speak to what leaders are looking for in top talent, what has changed and why I agree with Warren Buffet that integrity matters.

For other thoughts on leadership, visit my blog post on LinkedIn.

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Sandra Hokansson

Sandra Hokansson
Sandra Hokansson is SVP, executive development, Adecco Group North America, UK and Ireland. Reach her at sandra.hokansson (at) adecco (dot) ca.

Sandra Hokansson

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