Bad Habits are Never Intentional
The rush to get things done is one reason you grow frustrated with the way things get done. You didn’t get up this morning with aspirations to go home discouraged.
Bad habits are never intentional.
You’re doing so much that you don’t take time to improve the way you do things.
Three reasons bad habits take hold:
- Time pressure is an excuse for neglect. People in a hurry don’t have time to care for people or improve processes.
- A “crisis” every day is an excuse for bad habits. You look around one day and wonder how things got this way.
- Problems seem to give purpose to your existence. In the process of focusing on problems environments go dark and teams grow discouraged.
Meetings fall victim to the problem of being too busy to improve the process. “Let’s hurry up and get this meeting over,” suggests the process needs improvement.
You’re so busy running meetings that you don’t take time to improve your meetings.
Take five minutes at the beginning or end of meetings to improve the process. Choose one category and one discussion point from the following list.
Discussion points that humanize meetings:
- Who in our organization is making unnoticed contributions?
- How do we want to treat each other in this meeting?
- What would you like to focus on, if you had more time?
- Who are we serving?
Discussion points that improve the process:
- What will make this a great meeting?
- What makes this meeting matter?
- What happened at the best meeting you ever attended? What didn’t happen?
- What issues seem to take too much time? How might we remedy that?
- What five behaviors might make our meetings better?
Discussion points at the end of meetings:
- What worked for you in this meeting?
- How could we make our next meeting even better?
Which discussion point(s) have the most potential to improve your meetings?
What discussion points to improve meetings would you add?
Dan I have managed a lot of meetings both as a CFO, dealing with other financial staff, and a CEO of a business with sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing, HR and finance as staff.
It is Much easier to have a successful meeting with like minded or trained people whether finance, legal or HR. With the diversity of backgrounds, skills and even unique jargon, a full business staff meeting is much harder to manage and/or accomplish things. Adding to that is the diverse agendas or goals of each business function. And , of course, personalities!
Maybe your idea of five minutes at the start to try to set a common tone and a narrow objective for the meeting would help. Very good topic!
Brad James, author of The Business Zoo
Thanks Brad. You are so right. Great meetings are challenge.
Your comment reminds me that it’s important to keep the number of participants as low as possible. In the case of most meetings, more is not merrier. 🙂
You know nothing about the leadership if you haven’t read Dan Rockwell.
Thanks LA … but, let’s hope your overstating the case just a bit. 🙂
Only looking at this statement, “Bad Habits are never intentional,” I disagree. I am a firm believer that we make choices every day. If those choices continue to feed a bad habit or if they move someone away from a bad habit … either way, they are CHOICES that are made by the individual. True. There are behaviors that we may display that are bad habits – I am hoping we just haven’t realized that the habits are bad … otherwise, why would they continue?
I am teaching my 12 year old that every choice he makes, every day, determines what kind of a man he will become. Having a temper tantrum is a choice. A terrible habit that once viewed as a choice, rather than a justified response, is much easier to overcome when the power of choice is realized.
Thanks Dianna. I so appreciate you sharing your insights on this. Perhaps the idea is we may not realize the negative consequences of our bad choices until it’s too late.
Very insightful, thanks for sharing!
On this one I have to disagree. Yes there’s external pressures, but bad habits are an acquired habit. Bad habits occur either through lack of accountability, lack of knowledge that isn’t corrected,and/or escaping consequences of repetitious bad decisions.
In addition, bad habits are known, for that repetition is consciously, subconsciously as a minimum, aware of the likely results, Bad Habit then evolves, developing a “who cares” or “it doesn’t matter what are they going to do” approach from past acceptance of Bad Habit’s bad habits.
Bad habits left unchecked become the regular occurrence. Like good habits, bad habits are developed by an approach to accompli9shing the work, event, or pleasure.
When someone approaches a task where they feel or recognize there is really no consequence to the outcome, or lack of outcome therein, sloppiness interjects itself and Bad Habit takes over with bad habits
Hold someone accountable, with rewards for excellence, and consequences for poor results, lack of correction to bad habits, or the regularity of Bad habits and two things occur. Excellence continues, and Bad Habit has an epiphany that “bad habits” are no longer tolerated as acceptable.
Thanks Don. I appreciate you joining the conversation. Dianna raised a similar disagreement. It’s important that readers add their view point.
I don’t think normal healthy people set out to harm themselves.
I believe in personal responsibility. It seems that the title of this post is taken by some to mean that I don’t. Cheers
If you start every meeting going around the table asking each person to share one win from their day or week, the entire tone of the meeting changes. High performing people always focus on the challenge first. Focusing on the wins first resets everything and goes a long-ways to right-sizing the challenges, while building trust and connection between all the participants.
I have and continue to use this approach every day.
Thanks David. I’m with you. Most meetings I lead begin with, “What’s working?” “Where are we winning?”
Leaders who want ignite and sustain energy on their teams will appreciate the power of positive talk before digging into negative issues.
I appreciate you.
Day after day, wrong choices become bad habits. Bad habits are never intentional but Good Habits are ! And I like your idea to focus on some points to increase the efficiency, the value of meetings.
We really have to take care of our periodic meetings which tend to become a kind of routine. And after routine come bad habits…
Great post !
I read this comment with a post-huh. I preface that by saying it is not meant with any disrespect. I see this more often as a now accepted form of being ok. It’s not! For it personally affects you by the effects. The “bad habits are never intentional” is emotional logic, not pragmatic logic of the occurrence. A “bad habit” is something that occurs via repetition; it’s done again and again and becomes part of your signature just as good habits are- the difference; good habits insist on the diligence to strive for the best
Bad habits in this context are a result of lack of due diligence to do it right. it might be a result of justifying the employing of the 80/20 rule-the last 20% won’t likely change the outcome. But the source is identified-frustrations and anxiety.
In accepting frustration as justification says, skip the steps, I don’t have time. Do we have time to go back, do it again correctly with the scrutinizing eye of our employer, friend , family or most importantly your inner self.
What does one say to the auto mechanic who’s “don’t have time” caused your car to disable going home during hectic work traffic or the Airline mechanic who skipped those steps and you got to feel the anxiety of an emergency landing.
Look “bad habits” are “bad behavior” in that scheme of things. This isn’t altruism; we all have bad habits to some degree; its how we prioritize their importance in our lives. But to place a generalized blanket over them and have a Kumbaya moment takes away accountability to do it right, the first time!