What are your Organizational Habits? – (Insight from Duhigg and Hamel)

I am presenting two new business books to different groups this week.  One, What Matters Now by Gary Hamel, at the First Friday Book Synopsis.  The other, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, to a private client (I will present it this summer at the First Friday Book Synopsis).  These books agree in a critical observation.  Here’s Duhigg’s description:

There are no organizations without institutional habits. There are only places where they are deliberately designed, and places where they are created without forethought, so they often grow from rivalries or fear.

Hamel spends many pages describing such organizational habits, as they now exist.  And, to summarize it from his perspective, the habit of most organizations is to protect the past more than to forge a new future.  Here’s just one quote of many:

Modern organizations weren’t designed to be adaptable; they were designed to be disciplined and efficient.

In other words, habits of efficiency rather than habits that lead to innovation.  In other words, when they got good, they wanted to stay good at what they got good at.  And, in doing so, they let the new, new thing slip right on past them, and thus, leave them behind.

So, here’s the question for us all:

What habits are we building to be successful today and tomorrow?

Because, this much is certain to me after reading Duhigg’s book – success comes through the habits we practice, both personally, and organizationally (and even societally).

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