New Year – New Organizational Habits

Monday, January 13 2014

Upon the new year, many of us write resolutions to change our lives. Whether a new calendar or fiscal year, it’s a good time for organizational leaders to change ingrained habits for improvement in organizational results.  Answering key questions helps unearth those habits most in need for change.

What are our corporate habits?

Look at how you serve your clients and the methods used to serve them.  Consider how you make corporate decisions, who is involved, how the information is created and the criteria used.  Have each person identify internal customers, what they provide them, when it is provided and in what form.

How long have we been doing it this way?

Old habits of doing things are the most likely to need change.  Look where people say, ‘We’ve always done it that way.’

Is this habit still effective?

Not all old habits are ineffective.  Measure client satisfaction, time and effort required and the ability to deliver the intended results, to keep effective habits and identify potential change.  Look where people have been resisting the official procedure.  People try to change ineffective organizational habits.

What has this been costing us?

Ineffective habits result in people waiting, in documents or products sitting in process and in people taking extra effort and time to get things done.  Survey people about how much time they spend waiting for things or scrambling to move things forward.  When you discover these, put a dollar figure on the cost of the old way of doing things.

Old habits can force clients to wait inappropriately and can be inconvenient, requiring extra effort.  If you are not sure, ask.

When you find answers pointing to new a habit, don’t just make a resolution, create and execute a plan.

Start with a clear, specific, measurable goal for what part of the old habit will be gone and what the new habit will look like.  Identify milestones along the way representing key parts of the change.  Assign a champion to get it done, with the help of others as required, who will develop weekly or daily action plans and set aside time to get them done.

Carefully selected and designed new habits make life easier and better for everyone.  Clients find it more satisfying dealing with you, employees find it easier to create more effective results, your job becomes less stressful and the organization earns ever improving success.