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Which old habits are worth breaking?

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in Leaders & Managers

Breaking old habits can hurt. It’s why we avoid it. But the recession offers a golden opportunity to rethink how you do business and examine which behaviors are ripe for change.

A few suggestions:

Consider making a symbolic change that sends a powerful message. Example: When the late Alex Trotman became CEO of Ford Motor Company in the early ‘90s, he banned the big briefing books that senior executives brought to meetings.

Those books were symbolic of an executive who had his facts at his fingertips, but who didn’t necessarily have the facts at the top of his mind. Trotman wanted executives to stand on their own two feet when asked a question. His message: Business as usual is over.

Take business out of the office, away from typical interruptions. Give staff a meaty topic, and let them come up with the ideas. Note: Disconnect from BlackBerrys: no talking, no e-mailing.

Emerge from behind your desk more often. Eat in the employee cafeteria. Listen more; speak less. And follow up with messages that demonstrate you have learned from what you have heard.

Vary your routine. Hold staff meetings early? Switch them to later in the day. If you like to do business via e-mail, make more phone calls.

-- Adapted from “Start the New Year Off Right: Break Old Habits,” John Boldoni Blog.

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