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?