Do you have a few habits you'd like to kick? How can we reprogram ourselves and our organizations to discard bad habits that are limiting our success?
The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.
~ Charles Duhigg
The Full Scoop
Does your organization have habits that are detrimental to their success? The answer of course, is yes - all organizations and their people, have embedded routines and habits that are limiting their success. Changing a habit is challenging and often we don't even realize we have a habit that is limiting our ability to improve.
In the groundbreaking book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg points out that in a paper published by a Duke University researcher, it was found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren't due to decision making, but were habits. In a sense, that's alarming because when we're in the middle of a habit, we're thinking less.
Well ... hold on, we do NOT want our IT professionals thinking less, we want them actively thinking through problems and critically finding ways to improve the experience of end users. That can become a challenge when working on an IT Help Desk becomes routine, or a strong willed Project Manager is not listening to the input of the team; and resources disengage and come to expect to be led rather than to lead.
As an technology provider, we provide IT Services to a broad range of industries. The variation in organizations we serve has helped us work with many different people, in a variety of geographical areas and countries. We have found that leaders with good habits naturally attract and retain employees with good habits. The culture of the organizations we serve and the attitudes and routines of its employees, often reflect the attitudes, routines and habits of their executive teams and owners. It can be hard medicine to accept, but it is true - you lead from the top (but that doesn't mean you can't be a positive agent for change, whatever your position is within a group).
Starbucks has often been cited for the system they developed for exceptional customer service, now referred to as the LATTE System. They encourage their employees to,
- Listen to the Customer
- Acknowledge their complaint
- Take action by solving the problem
- Thank them
Customers can be a wonderful and often free source of advice on what your organization is or is not doing well. We have added an additional ingredient to this wonderful formula, and that is returning back to our customer to make sure systems are still operating as discussed. We want to be sure they are still happy with the outcome; perhaps easier for us as our clients are typically part of ongoing managed service agreements.
A few years ago we were required to roll out endpoint management to a very large customer base. Our product offering includes endpoint monitoring and protection for mobile devices and workstations, and when you're working with large user groups; coordinating the installations can be a real challenge. Nobody wants to be inconvenienced or disrupted by a software installation.
Our client had previous experiences with MDM and RMM roll outs that did not go very well, and we found ourselves listening to their experiences and brainstorming how we could avoid the common approaches used by other IT vendors; forcing installation and maintenance windows on end users.
We found if we put the power of scheduling the installations for end users into their own hands, rather than falling back on the common habit in IT organizations to force installation and maintenance windows; the installation process not only went smoother but completed faster. By providing end users scheduling options they were empowered with autonomy and enjoyed controlling their own downtime.
Willpower is the biggest and most important element of developing good habits for an organization. An essential element of willpower, is autonomy. Everyone wants to believe and feel that they are in control of their lives, schedule and organization. When we take away someone's choices, they become frustrated - but when we provide choices, we find that our ability to coordinate and deliver for a client grows tenfold.
We need to reflect on the processes, systems and rule-sets that are governing how our organizations operate; and by listening to our stakeholders, find new ways to innovate and empower them to be apart of our mission; to keep their IT systems running smoothly. Find ways to engage with your user base, and use their feedback to drive innovative IT Services within their organization; they will thank you.