In my day job as a Habits Coach, experience has taught me that the pathway to success is easily achieved: honing the right skills over time, then repeatedly and consistently doing those things that bring about the best results.
In my second job as a consultant in the corporate world, experience has taught me that the pathway to success is defined by the culture organizations have designed by intentionally and consistently ensuring that the performance and behavioural requirements required to become, and remain successful, are the norms within their organizations.
Results in our both our personal lives and the corporate world are produced by doing the same things over and over. If this bears truth, then it is self-evident that changes can never be brought about by doing those the same things, and therefore new things must be decided upon and then repeated vigorously in order for change to occur and, indeed, to last.
The challenge I have witnessed repeatedly in both individual and corporate attempts to initiate change is always the same: the reluctance to relinquish the status quo.
The data on the human ability to implement and sustain long-term change are truly disheartening. We have become so habituated by our present behaviours that substituting new ones in their place is a long-term challenge few of us will live up to.
In other words, we have taught ourselves how to become comfortable within our own discomfort. The irony is as much as we wish for different results, we are extremely loath to give up the very behaviours that constantly bring us discomfort.
The difficulty in adopting new habits helps us understand why giving up the old ones is as challenging as it is.
The old saying that “old habits die hard” is just plain wrong. Old habits never die, they simply shrink and fade into the deep and dark recesses of our minds where they patiently wait for an opportunity to pounce and re-establish themselves as our behavioural norms.
Changing corporate culture requires an unwavering commitment from the CEO and all members of the executive team. Indeed, they must, at all times, be seen to be both championing and modelling the very behaviours they wish to see spread throughout their organization.
Deviation by even one member of the executive team can sabotage the efforts of all the others which is, I believe, how the myth that changing corporate culture is a lengthy and tedious process was born.
While culture cannot be changed overnight, a new culture can be established very quickly when certain essential guidelines are adopted.
The process may not be painless, but culture is the very foundation upon which all successful organizations are built.
As Peter Drucker said “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” which is why it is as important as it is for management to get things right in their organizations, their first challenge is always to model the culture upon which all the “right things” will be built.
For the most part the words culture and habits are interchangeable. Both come about either by design or by default and, as many of us have learned, habits acquired by default seldom guide us to where we want to go.
Selecting and implementing habits and culture that we purposefully design ourselves by our always gives us the greatest opportunity for success.
Let’s get started now.
Till we read again.