Organisation and habits

When people read something they will start thinking and usually after thinking they may take an action. When the action is taken regularly it will become a habit and habits will build character. I believe that the same way can be applied to organisations and teams too when developing them.

Food for thoughts

Reading, listening and training are good way to give some ideas to people in the organisations. Sharing interesting articles related to the domain and giving presentations for the team are good way to give some food for the thoughts. A very traditional way to give new ideas and insights are trainings where new things are taught, curated and discussed. Some people may start to think those new things are start applying them to daily work.

Take an action

Some people take action immediately, others need their time for thinking. When they are ready they will take the action and start doing new things. It might be some new way to interact with the customer, team members and so forth. The best way is to reward people when they take the action and achieve small wins. The small wins or victories build the success and it will start a chain reaction that allows other wins to appear. When some action is taken, small wins achieved the same pattern is applied to other areas too. It is rewarding.

Build a habit

When the action has taken it place at organisation and it has been performed regularly it will be the habit. For example factory work may be dangerous and accidents happens time to time. When people are encouraged to take actions that reduces accidents it will be the habit that prevents accidents. The accident paradigm can be applied to software development too, no bugs or build breaks. Software development team is encouraged to take actions that reduces bugs and build breaks. Stop the line is good example of habit which is applied in many industries from automotive to e-commerce and software development. If some employee finds quality problem he or she will stop the line until the quality problem is solved. This is utilised by Toyota, Amazon and other companies which uses lean methods.

Develop a character

Habits definitely build person and organisations which give characteristics for them. This will be part of the organisation’s culture or DNA. Every organisation have their own habits, behaviors and routines. When these are in place they will reduce uncertainty. Repeatable processes are very important aspect when reducing uncertainty. Every organisation has their processes for different functions. They are either written down into the manuals or they are tacit knowledge that is passed to others by an example. If process development is too huge task to do lighter way would be creating routines e.g. regular meetings with different people, check lists for certain operations. The most important thing is to build a habit which brings some success because it will start chain reaction which will bring more good habits in place. Just stay focused, be persistent and empower people to take actions which will improve things.

As a leader, apply following when you want to introduce something new:

  1. Give people something to think: books, SlideShares, blogs that handle the topic at hand.
  2. Empower people to take the action.
  3. Build habits by performing actions regularly e.g. regular follow up meetings etc.
  4. Develop the organisation where habits are built in by processes, routines or check lists.

What is your opinion about building habits in organisations?