Serving up good habits

We all have habits. Something we don’t think about —we just ‘do’. Sometimes our habits are good and sometimes they’re bad. As a manager, you need to sort through your own habits, and your team’s, to create a winning workplace.

Think about the Australian Open (whether you’re glued to the television watching or not). Good habits can catapult your team to efficiency and effectiveness just like the impressive habits drilled into the likes of LleytonHewitt and Serena Williams take them to the top and keep them there win after win after win.

Bad habits have the opposite effect. They can hold you and your team back.

Like the coach of an acclaimed tennis player, it’s critical that you, as a supervisor or manager, remain on top of habits for better performance. This starts by observing, without judgement, how your team is working and strategically categorising habits into what works and what doesn’t work. Only then will you be in a position to decide on your plan—what your workplace needs to look like and how it needs to function, for maximum efficiency. It can be a game changer.

When you observe, you’ll discover that talented staff have ingrained habits they often don’t think about. Their work just flows. Not-so-talented staff often struggle establishing regular habits and so they stumble, falter and lose the ball. They waste time, money and effort.

You want habits for success, and this includes observing workplace essentials such as:

  •  what staff do and how
  •  where staff work
  •  when staff work
  • what equipment they use to work.

Then talk to staff to capture their thoughts.

Ask these types of questions, remembering that your analysis needs to pinpoint the range of habits in your workplace. Why? They form an important pattern.

  1. What helps kickstart a great habit? For focused work it could be a distraction free workplace, or handling set tasks at a certain time of day.
  2. What routine do your top staff follow? Talk through the routine how it came to be.
  3. What is the reward for executing good habits? Is a tally kept of tally of small wins?
  4. In addition to ‘soft’ changes, what equipment changes are needed?

Once you’re in top shape with important data, you need to act to get that winning edge. In doing so, your role is to focus on habits that are meaningful and productive.

What not to do:

  1. Take a narrow approach. Think broadly. Think laterally.
  2. Reduce the number of habits for the sake of it. This is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
  3. Work in isolation.

What to do:

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  2. Explain the rationale for change.
  3. Explain the benefits of change.
  4. Check in after changes have been made to test results.
  5. Alter where necessary to refine and ensure your team is a winning one.

If you’re struggling to gain points with the habits, rely on an expert who can guide you through the match. Whatever you do, don’t ignore habits in your workplace. Like the players in the Australian Open, strive only to be the best.