Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Power of Habit [Chapter 6]

Haley Scholars Spring 2013 Reading Groups

By Danielle Hall

In this chapter, Charles Duhigg discusses how inadvertent routines among organizations and firms lead to poor choices and destructive habits. The two case studies provided in this chapter resulted in costly, even deadly, consequences at Rhode Island Hospital and London Underground’s King’s Cross subway station. Both examples shed light on the ways in which ineffective communication, unwritten processes and policies, behaviors, contribute to inadvertent habit formations.

According to Duhigg, “even destructive habits can be transformed by leaders who know how to seize the right opportunities” and that “Sometimes in the heat of a crisis, the right habits emerge" (160). In this way, change within both organizations’ habits only became a possibility among leadership in the face of calamity. Here, Duhigg goes on to say that leaders must not only “cultivate habits that both create a real and balanced peace,” but also that leaders must “make it absolutely clear who’s in charge" (166).

Based on the reading, what did you come to view as one key benefit to “transforming” habits by “seizing” or finding the right opportunities amid crisis? Why or how so? 


Robyn said...

I interpret the quote "even destructive habits can be transformed by leaders who know how to seize the right opportunities. Sometimes in the heat of a crisis, the right habits emerge," as this: some people know how to play the game well, while others don't. It's all about strategy and manipulation. One key benefit to transforming habits by seizing or finding the right opportunities is knowing when those destructive habits will work in your favor and when they won't.

Monique Williams said...

Whenever reading this I instantly thought of the Rhode Island Hospital example. The nurses were being treated very poorly by the doctors. The nurses were taking on so much responsibility, but the doctors still thought of them as almost clueless. The poor communication resulted in costly situations. Hopefully from this bad situation, leaders learn what they can improve on. Often we learn valuable lessons from bad things that happen.

Phillip L. said...

I feel like the text sort of dates itself. I watched as Business Schools in the nineties turned out heartless mercenaries who were all about crushing labor and “offshoring” manufacturing. Now business schools are teaching that collaborations among members of the organization is the true way to profits and success. “Routines – habits – that create truces that allow that allow everyone to set aside their rivalries long enough to get a day’s work done,” I like that quote, there is much under tone here.

The business school mercenaries of the nineties, to me they were an easy sell. We as American are taught to be competitive at an early age. We have to be number one, nobody remember number two. To be cut throat in business is a natural progression for most. To turn off the natural instinct for the betterment of the collective is going against instinct, going against habit. The leaders of today are leading by sharing the power of input. Leaders of successful organizations are developing the un-tapped creative juices of once top-down organizations and encouraging collaborative peer to peer teams with in the corporate structure. That, my friends, is as they say a beautiful thing…..

Jacquelene G said...

I feel a key benefit to transforming habits and finding the right opportunities among crisis, is the prevention of lives being lost. By clearly understanding which habits could be beneficial despite what the unspoken habits may be, mistakes that may put people’s lives in jeopardy can be avoided. If the nurse in the Rhode Island would have ignored the unspoken habit of avoiding conflict with doctor’s names written in black, and continued to fight for the patient, perhaps he would not have lost his life from a mistake that could have been avoided.
Jac`quelene G.

Ke'Asha jones said...

When I read this i automatically thought about the whole issue with the TV show The Bible where many people are saying that the character playing the devil favors President Barack Obama. When the president was asked about how he felt about it instead of being negative about it he just made light of the situation and in doing so he used that to his advantage by showing his supporters that people are trying to come at him with opposition in all aspects yet he is not paying them any attention he makes jokes about it and that made me personally see him as a human and not just some powerful figure with no personality and i felt that was a good way to seize the moment of something negative and make it work in your favor.

Yasmyn K. said...

I feel as though the transforming habits by seizing opportunities as a key benefit. For example, working with children is a though that comes to mind. There are many habits that children may carry out, due to lack of training at home, that is unnecessary and is a distraction amongst the work environment. Even though their actions are not reprimanded at home does not mean that they are welcomed at a school. Therefore, as teachers&counselors, we must changed their bad habits by "seizing" any opportunities that would allow the child to act out.