Breaking bad. Breaking good. - Rogensi

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11 Steps to Changing HabitsA rogenSi ViewpointBreaking bad.Breaking good.By Steve Ellis /Director,rogenSi, EMEAJanuary 20152 / Breaking bad. Breaking good rogenSi IP LtdBreaking bad. Breaking good / 1Steve Ellis is a Director at rogenSi based out of the London office where he leads the rogenSi London Sales Team. Steves principle focus is with rogenSis leadership practice; he specialises in culture change, leadership development and leadership behavioural coaching. Steve has a particular interest in realising culture change and embedding coaching behaviours. He also has a strong record of driving sales culture and high performing teams. Prior to joining rogenSi in 2003, Steve was an Account Director for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) where he supported clients like Walmart, Morrisons and Waitrose. Before GSK he spent 11 years with Coca-Cola Enterprises where, for four years, he was Head of Training and Development for Sales and Marketing. When he left Coca-Cola he was Account Director for Tesco, Britains largest retailer. Steve graduated with a BSc Hons degree in Geography and Management from Leeds University. He is an NLP Practitioner and a Certified trainer for Extraordinary Leader (Zenger Folkman), a Certified trainer for Tetra-Map Behavioural styles and a Non-Violent Communications Practitioner. Steves inspiration for writing this Point of View came from the award winning TV Series Breaking Bad - a reflection of his creative, engaging and down-to-earth style.2 / Breaking bad. Breaking good rogenSi IP LtdExecutive summary /Why didnt Walter White from the hit series Breaking Bad stop making crystal meth? I remember being captivated by the dilemmas and the choices taken and not taken in the series. The moral, ethical, economic, self-esteem and identity choices that the characters made reminded me of the same dilemmas that leaders have when looking at their companies. Why did a good man like Walter become so bad? Why do good companies go bad? Why do we all struggle to change when its obvi-ous that pursuing the current course of action is not helping or no longer giving us the preferred results we are looking for. Why do we seem to be addicted to the one way of working? Why dont we break bad habits?The truth is that there are no wholly bad habits. Every habit is good in that it must de-liver good outcomes to be worth repeating and holding onto. So the biggest challenge for individuals and organisations is the ability to change good habits, or at least suboptimal habits that are giving us suboptimal results.Changing good habits means letting go of the routine, ease, and predictability of the existing habit and the good outcomes that delivers and to exchange them for short-term temporary, poor outcomes and experiences in the belief that they will eventually deliver better outcomes. Good habits in the case of Walter were the ones that made him feel good, gave him an identity of special one or significance and supported his financial goal of providing for his family. How could he let go of those habits when they were giving him such good results?For businesses its the same. The habit or strategy becomes a good habit as it deliv-ers the organisation good results; an identity or brand, financial results or feel-good results.Breaking bad. Breaking good / 3Ac1Sub2Pa4Ack5Vi6IO 7Al8MR 910Ce11W 3CoHL 11NSMCircle ofHabitual Life 4 / Breaking bad. Breaking good rogenSi IP LtdThe Circle of Habitual Life /Its a constant cycle. Executives develop strategies, create systems and processes.They develop behaviours and cultures, develop brands and operational structures. They invest in infrastructure, resources and capital equipment. Then, they embed them. Every change model says they should. To make sure all the systems and processes are running at optimal levels they need to embed them. Executives then make processes efficient as well as effective. They use Six Sigma to strip out excess and waste and squeeze the system, or habit, to make it even more profitable. This gives us the cyclical challenge of changing what weve created. In the case of organisations that task is often given to the next executive coming in either as a mandate for change or as a need to stamp their authority or make an impression.As individuals we do the same. We create mental systems, beliefs and behavioural response mechanisms to cope. We have thoughts and feelings about ourselves, situations, the future, our colleagues, the competition, our enemies. We create habits. The habits work. We continue with them because they deliver predictable easy, comfortable good results. Then these habits become suboptimal. Competition, markets, customers and technology, all change. New research or analytics make us aware of new risks and potential rewards of operating differently.Suboptimal doesnt mean bad though. They are still good habits because they are still getting us good outcomes even if the outcomes are psychological such as; comfort, relaxation, belonging or security. Habit change represents risk, discomfort, fear of failure, judgement or lossand still dont guarantee better results! So its easier to stay as we are.A trap that we as individuals and businesses executives often fall into, is thinking that suboptimality is linked to the efficiency of the strategy or habit rather than the effectiveness of the habit. In doing so we look to cut cost, streamline and squeeze the habit to make it go further and work harder! Sometimes we just have to acknowledge its time to change the habit or strategy. Yet all that embedding makes it difficult to adopt a new strategy and execute it both efficiently and effectively.There are 11 steps to follow if we want to challenge the status quo:Breaking bad. Breaking good / 5Ac1Sub2Pa4Ack56W 31. AcceptanceThe first challenge is acceptance. Acceptance that every habit is or will be suboptimal. Treat habits like assets. They depreciate. By all means maximise returns by embedding them but ac-knowledge and accept they need to be replaced by smarter technology, new strategies, and mod-ern systems.What wasnt Walter getting from the habit of making crystal meth? There is often an irony in strategies and habits. On the surface it looks like your habits are getting you what you need, when indeed they are often only teasing you into believ-ing that. The bully thinks bullying gives him power and respect and even admiration when in fact the strategy gets them rejection, fear and loathing. The businesses that increase sales think they are satisfying customers needs and providing a great customer experience but may well be getting resentful buyer dissatisfaction that may come to bite them later.2. SuboptimalNotice when good habits become suboptimal: Assets can become a millstone - were stuck with a building, a piece of equipment or even a person! Our identity becomes like a pair of blinkers that we cant see beyond We are a hardware company, we dont do software. Relationships become handcuffs or shackles contracts that you cannot extricate yourself from or dysfunctional marriages Values become dogmas institutionalised mantra that thwarts outside the box thinking even when the market or customers have left the box youre in! Systems and processes become routine and bureaucratic, often at the expense of the customer experience. 3. Why?Ask the childlike question Why? three times and see if you can avoid the answer because it is...the way we do things. This is shorthand for I dont know why we do it that way, just we always have.The challengers can often be seen as disruptive and moaners. Executives and managers should always be prepared to answer the why question. After all, without an answer there is no value proposition. Without a value proposition there is no justification to keep it the way it is.When you answer the question, notice which tense you use. We did it because... or we do it because... may indicate whether it is still pres-ently useful to do it that way, or no longer useful in the current reality.4. PainEmphasise the pain that not changing the strategy and the pleasure associated with both the journey of change and the end result. What is the pain caused by suboptimality? Highlight the deterioration of competitiveness, quality of outcomes and loss of customers. What is the opportunity or pleasure available through changing habits?6 / Breaking bad. Breaking good rogenSi IP Ltd5. Acknowledgement Acknowledge the current habit or strategy and what the loss of it means. Mourn it if you like. Celebrate what it gave you. Remember it was someones idea and it was successful and valuable for a specific time.Recognise it and the contributors to its success. Failure to do so will only create denial, resistance and alienate people - some of whom may have hero status for having created the existing way!6. Vision Create a compelling vision of the future that you and everyone can be galvanised by. At an individual level this vision can be largely selfish and perfectly aligned to your own needs, wants or values. At an organisational level engage and energise your team around the message of customers and consumers; their needs and how they experience your business. Whether you are in IT, Finance, HR, Sales, Marketing, C-Suite or Operations, you can align behind a customer message whilst still driving your functional messages of efficiency, cost control, talent management, analysts report or sales force effectiveness.The vision should be illustrative of the new world: what has changed and why the strategy or habit needs to change to mitigate the new risks or capitalise on the new opportunities and rewards.What are the keys to an effective new strategy or habit vision?1. Make it sensory. Describe the vision in terms of what you can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Describe it like its an experience.2. Make it meaningful. Make it something that can be translated at every level of the organisation even if the organisation is a family. It may have been useful for Walter to involve the family in his habit-changing journey!3. Make it inspirational. A target expressed as a number is a number. For it to be inspiring you need to connect it to the needs and wants of stakeholders (customers, colleagues, self, or family).4. Ground it in reality. Base it on analytics or insight so that it is relevant to the current world. This would make it believable.Breaking bad. Breaking good / 77. Involve others At an individual level or team level involve others. Im not sure Walter White involved enough of the right people in helping him change (even if he wanted to?). Others will help you if they have skin in the game. That requires courage to ask and vulnerability to admit youre letting go. You may be letting go of something they like so be careful not to just call on Jesse or your usual co-conspirators!Involving others psychologically creates obligation and commitment to follow through on promises. It creates guilt when you dont. It provides a support network of helpers. It creates the fear of judge and jury not being impressed if you dont deliver. It provides an audience to applaud and congratulate when you do achieve it.8. AlignmentExecutives need to align behind the business as usual agenda and the Must Win Battles. What are the two or three significant changes in outcomes and subsequent changes in strategy or behaviour required? Ensure everyone knows what these are as they will be expected to compromise, share resources, and invest in those three Must Win Battles at the expense of business as usual or other pet projects. These are the existing good habits. This alignment will definitely get tested. As soon as the new habit stumbles or faces difficulty others will be whispering, shouting I told you so. The alignment is critical to accountability and the avoidance of the blame game. The process of discussion, disagreement, challenge and debate not only helps everyone to understand what the business is looking to achieve but importantly what it is not looking to do. Alignment isnt agreeing on a sentence or a goal, its agreeing on what not to say and what not to go after. In essence when time, money, resources and you are changing approach, it is crucial to understand what you are saying yes to and what you are saying no to.9. Measure & Reward Measure and reward; monitor progress and not just outcomes. Change will be littered with setbacks, barriers and failures. To mitigate against the risk of losing faith or energy you need to recognise and reward progress and not just results. If you wait for the result youre in for a long wait! Ensure there is a powerful feedback loop process supporting the execution of the new habit or behaviour. Make it the number one agenda item in meetings or the top agenda item of your individual day. Ask: What did I do that took me towards my goal today? What did I do that took me away from my goal today? What will we adjust tomorrow? These questions focus on four variables: I which drives accountability for the habit changes, do which drives action not hope, today which drives urgency and accelerated change and goal which makes sure you pay attention to your intention and that the habit change is purposeful. This will accelerate the acquisition of the new habits rather than dipping back into old ones.The reward is the fulfilment of the inspiration and passion that went into the vision. Make sure that your need for recognition, respect, love, power, security, growth and development, are somehow met. Treat yourself and the team to a celebration when progress is being made.8 / Breaking bad. Breaking good rogenSi IP Ltd10. New Skills & MindsetEliminate the yes but. Yes but we havent got the time, tools, resources, information, people, capability.... Remove the interferences by empowering people to take action aligned behind the new goal and habit. Simultaneously remove the blame/victim language and culture to drive accountability. Eliminating interferences may mean equipping people with new capabilities, tools and resources as well as new mindsets of ownership.11. CelebrateCelebrate the journey and the destination. As the clich goes its the journey not the destination that counts. Remember the destination will soon become suboptimal so better to realise all the lessons and self esteem that comes from the journey. You are about to go on a new journey and it is the lesson contained in the journey that will be applied to the next strategy or habit change.ConclusionGood companies dont go bad because people in them are bad. They dont go bad because they are stupid or because they dont see the market shift, customer behaviour change or technology awareness change. Its not because they are caught in the headlights or that their particular industry is in massive decline. Individuals and companies are trapped by commitments. They are trapped by the success of previous activities and behaviours. Remember Walter White was caught in the trap of his habitual behaviour and everything it gave him even when he realised the competition - or in his case, the police - were closing in, even when his family was falling apart. He was a bright man. He could see it coming but was trapped by the good he was getting from his suboptimal habits.Its not about Breaking Bad habits its about Breaking Good ones.