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How to improve institutional habits

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Habits shape us all. In his first book, Charles Duhigg shows how to establish good habits and discard bad ones.

Every habit has three parts:

  1. A cue (being bored after lunch)
  2. A behavior (smoking a cigarette)
  3. The reward (slight relief from boredom)

You probably can’t change the cue or the reward: “habit loops” are pretty ingrained. What you can change is the behavior—in this case, the cigarette.

Examples: NFL coach Tony Dungy used the force of habit by training his Colts to react automatically when they saw subtle cues by opposing players. And when Paul O’Neill headed Alcoa, he revolutionized the company’s habits by making worker safety the top priority. Both men took their organizations straight to the top.

— Adapted from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg, Random House.

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