”Habits” – Challenge Status Quo – Let’s go “all in”! (Part II)

Topic: challenge status quo

Joakim Marias
07.02.2020

Robert summoned it up very well in that we tend to go all in and soon thereafter fail in a grand way.  Don’t get me wrong. I would argue that it is good to fail, and people do that every day as a part of everyday life. If I am not mistaken, Google admits that they fail nine times out of ten.  

Do not forget that you daily fail in repetitive tasks that you thought you already did perfectly. And that’s because you're human. Humans are not robots. 

Through failure we find understanding about what works in what we currently are testing out. That is true even when quitting a use of a drug. We try and try again to quit smoking. Most people succeed. 

So, what is it that Robert is talking about? 

Going “All in” is more about Change Management than the actual goals. It’s not what you want to achieve, it’s how you do it. 

To be able to work with Change management you need to understand what motivates and drives a human, and that takes more than a three day kick off at the company conference center.  

There are seven human drives that need to be addressed to increase the probability of success. In this and the next post I will focus on the two strongest. 

Habits 

Habits are necessary to address in even the smallest of projects, private or corporate.  

Habits broken down are made up of a trigger followed by a routine and ends with a reward (Duhigg 2012) . Together your habits make up your mental models or brain schemes that I talked about in my other blog post “Mental models of humans”.  

Example: You wake up in the morning feeling the trigger (sensation) that you need to get up and go to the restroom which is the routine  and take care of it and gets the reward of a pleasant feeling, in most cases.  

Your days are filled with habits and behaviors that have this sequence and to successfully change or go “All in” you need to understand yours and other team members behaviors to be able to change the routines that follows the triggers.  

I believe. You can make the decision to go “All in” Agile within a company as a manager. But if you do not change the behaviors (Culture) which in turn are made up of the habits of your staff, you will most likely fail. That’s the importance of creating new habits that enforces new behaviors for you to succeed. 

The same goes for your diets and New Year’s resolutions. People need to understand what triggers a behavior or habit, so that they can alter the routine that follows and get the reward they crave for.  

Forget the notion that it takes 28 days, or whatever, that floats around out there on the web.  

All it takes is for you to identify your trigger and then remind you to alter the routine that follows. It is as easy as just swooping it out.  

For example. Working out is usually a big problem for people and they have a flurry of excuses to start or keeping the “I will start tomorrow” theme in action. But let’s address how easy this is to get into your life and be a lifestyle.  

If you’re one of those that feels dead when you step inside the door at home after a long workday where you have performed at the top of your game and the sofa is screaming for your attention, you are probably not alone. But let’s break it down.  

Practical example 

What is the trigger?  

- Stepping inside the door at home feeling tired.

What is the routine? 

- Taking of the clothes and slipping into something comfortable like PJ’s or whatever you wear and walk to the sofa and turning the TV on. 

What is the reward? 

- Falling asleep to the sound of the voices on the TV.  

(Yes, Pavlov’s dogs drooling when hearing the click is the same thing.) 

But let’s dig a bit deeper.  

50% of the world’s population have an internal body clock (circadian rhythm) that demands a short nap 14:30-14:50. People usually do not understand why they tend to feel tired in the afternoon. But that is simply half of the world’s populations circadian rhythm which is perfectly normal (Breus, M. 2016).

Furthermore, people do not understand the power of low blood sugar and disregard that they need to add more fuel to the body in the form of glucose in the afternoon to combat this. Thus, feeling way more tired than normal when they step inside the door at home.  

But if you simply do not address the nap in the afternoon. Do nothing to add more fuel in the form of food in the afternoon. Simply swapping the routine 

The simplest way would be to have the workout clothes ready. Change into them instead of the PJ’s. Put the jacket on and simply go to the gym. The reward would be the “good feeling” (endorphins) after the workout.  

To help even more, you can eat something an hour before you start the workout. That will keep your mind in check with glucose.  

I talked about this in the blog “Mental models of humans”, in that, you need to tap into the logical, system 2, of your brain. Not deciding based on what you feel (your emotions), system 1. Not to forget that system 1 has president over the two systems.  

But to even set the team, or yourself, up for a success you need to understand the underlaying drivers (psychology) of humans and learn as you go along, just like Robert is advocating.  

I believe, large steps are hard to take. Trial and error steps are much easier and not so costly for a company to embark upon, or a private relationship for that matter.  Make the trial and error habit a success story for you and your company. Learning from your personal and teams' mistakes. 

Stop and evaluate along the way to understand what you just learned about the situation or habit. Or you will not learn and grow. 

In my next post I will be talking about the strongest of the human drives “The Need to Belong” and how this might interfere with “Challenging Status Quo”.  

Klick here for the next blogg about "The Need to Belong"

--> Part III - "The Need To Belong"

Breus M. (2016). The Power of When: Ebury Publishing

Duhigg, Charles. 2012. The Power of Habits: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. New York: Random House

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