As we turn the calendar to the new year, our minds go to fresh starts for ourselves and our organizations. Many speak of resolutions such as living a healthier lifestyle or being in better financial shape by the end of 2019. The truth is that change comes from small habit changes as those suggested by James Clear in his best seller Atomic Habits.
Rather than charging into the year with grandiose resolutions, it may serve us better to hold ourselves, as well as our team, to smaller procedural changes that will make all the difference in the long run. Let’s dive into three areas of an organization where small habit adjustments can make a big impact.
Are you and your team taking time each week, or even daily day, to get off the grid and dive deeply into larger tasks at hand? By promoting time away from the myriad of communication tools fighting for your team’s attention and encouraging them to grind out a single project, client issue, or challenge, you open your team up to finding solutions that could provide large-impact organizational transformation.
When an internal meeting ends in your organization, are the action items, the owners of those items, as well as the expected date of completion communicated to those who attended? When the next steps are clear to all, the time required on future communication will be minimal.
How much time does your organization lose each day hunting for previous communication? Simple procedural changes, like streamlining internal communications channels, can save you a lot of headache in the months to come. By doing away with fragmented communications styles which leave breadcrumbs of conversations scattered throughout your inbox, Slack, and Skype, your team can have a better control over your information.
If the team agrees to use certain tools for specific types of communication or to begin using a CRM tool that can integrate those communications, all the team will save time and provide a seamless client experience.
If you feel overloaded by the number of messages you receive, ask yourself a few questions. Do you own your email inbox, or does your inbox own you? Are you making the most of the tools available to manage what is coming in to allow you to see what actionable priorities? Why not break the clutter cycle and have a direct conversation with the coworker who emailed you?
In your work life, you have practices or habits that are exceptional, or you would not be the success you are today. How could you maximize your strengths or apply them to other areas where you have dissatisfaction? If you stay on top of your email with tremendous success yet often miss project deadlines, how could your successful email organization skills help you with project management? Be intentional with your work and spread good habits to your areas of challenge.
Intention, or mindfulness, expands past your individual skillset and can greatly affect your workflow as a whole. Once we arrive at the office, we need to ask ourselves if we are truly present when at work.
In this time when we all claim to be masters at multi-tasking, it is rare to not see team members in all companies on their phones throughout the workday. If we genuinely accomplished our best work as multi-taskers we would see nothing wrong with our doctor texting while operating on us; a lawyer posting on Twitter while defending us from a lawsuit or our children’s teacher shopping on Amazon while leading the class in an algebra problem. In all those experiences, we hope those individuals are intentionally present to provide us with the best outcome.
This year, it’s time to cut out the distractions. Our minds need to focus on giving our organizations our best work.
In taking the time now to select areas where your work habits could use the most improvement with the smallest of changes, collectively we could significantly impact our organizations in 2019. May we all move mountains this next year by making slight habit corrections!