New Year, New Habits

(Not another article about New Year’s Resolutions, we promise!)

According to this New York Times article, by the end of today (January 8th) 25% of those of you who made resolutions will have dropped them already. That seems about right to us and it seems that fewer and fewer people commit to resolutions each year. Afterall, why bother if you’re not going to be successful? It is rather discouraging.

Unfortunately, we see this lack of follow through at times in the companies we work with as well. Commitments are made, and commitments are dropped. In poor performing cultures, nothing is really said (especially if it’s the boss who doesn’t follow through) and morale drops dramatically. Or worse, the few high performers simply move on. Few seem to be accountable for anything and nothing beyond the day-to-day gets accomplished.

“How do we improve accountability?” is a question we hear often.

Let’s consider the facts, according to research done by the Association for Training and Development. What is your probability of success?

  1. 10% – 25% if you consciously decide to achieve something
  2. 50% if a deadline is set and a plan of action determined
  3. 65% if you declare to someone else your intention to make a change
  4. 95% if you have an appointment with someone to report on your progress

Clients call us once they decide to make a change and need some help (#1). Much like someone would call a personal trainer the first week of January.

A large part of what we do as consultants relates to #2 – strategic plans, performance plans, job descriptions written with responsibilities and accountabilities, project plans and action plans of all kinds (in apps, in Excel, in Google docs, on large whiteboards, you name it). These are fantastic plans that we develop in collaboration with our clients, full of hope and aspiration. They are communicated throughout the organization (#3) and yet, we are often left wondering how we can “move the needle” further. You see, we’re not happy with a 65% success rate either.

That’s why this year we are encouraging our clients to consider our Habit Builder tool. This program allows us to work with clients to identify a mindset or behaviour they want to change, or a new learning they want to implement (usually aligned with a corporate goal) and commit to it over the course of 30 days by checking in to the online platform. Thirty days because we know that’s how long it takes to form a new habit. An online platform because it generates a daily prompt (by email or text), encouraging mindfulness and a method of tracking progress. The program pushes towards 95% success because employees are encouraged to choose an accountability partner to challenge, cheer on and provide a kick-in-the-pants when needed. This may be a colleague, a friend, a spouse or even your mom.

“On good teams, coaches hold players accountable; on great teams, players hold players accountable.”
Joe Dumars, NBA player (1985 – 1999)

Accountability, focus, working more effectively, doing things differently, driving high performance. If those are changes you’d like to see in your organization this year, let’s talk more about our current services and our Habit Builder Program.