So you want to make some changes or improvements. Perhaps you did an Align or Team Perspective exercise and identified some new norms to set or you want to try or you got some personal feedback and you want to improve.
Get Clear on your Goals
The starting point for a new Habit is to know what you hope it'll achieve. Write down the goal you have for your Habits. What do you hope will happen after you live these new behaviors?
We'll follow an example from a team that did Align and identified making decisions more quickly as the top priority.
Their specific goal was to: Make strategic group decisions in 1-2 conversations that last a maximum of 30 minutes each.
Plan A: Find the specific behaviors that will lead to your goals
The best way to make Habits is to find the specific behaviors that if implemented will surely lead to achievement of the goal. This is a tough problem of logically linking your goal with the actions that'll achieve it.
Here's an example of working from the goal we're using above down to possible Habits and then evaluating them against some criteria.
This is a difficult process but think through your goal and what combination of behaviors you, and your team, would need to adopt to reach that goal.
Plan B: State the outcomes you want to achieve
It can be tough to get to the point of having tangible action oriented behaviors. An alternative is to simply state the outcomes/goals you want to achieve. Each member of your team can then rate how well it's going and the team can discuss.
In our example of meetings this may mean Habit statements like: We debate for the right amount of time, We assign the right amount of time to each decision (based on importance), or We move on when needed.
Work on a small number of Habits at any one time
Us feeble humans struggle to remember or work on more than a couple things at a time. You may have a list of 15 Habits or changes you want to make but it'll be very hard to execute on that many at once. Our recommendation is to pick 2-4 Habits at a time and focus on those. Once you, or the team, has adopted those and you're living them you can move on to pursue a new batch.
Checklist for great Habits
- Are observable or specific behaviors (doing or not doing them can be factual)
- You have a daily or weekly opportunity to practice them
- If adopted will make a significant impact on achieving your goal
- Adoption is feasible given the context of your team
- Are few enough in number that you can remember all of them
Check in at the right frequency
Check in much more frequently than you think is needed. It's hard to build new Habits and we need all the reminders, feedback and accountability we can get. Likely this means daily, weekly or monthly check ins depending on the Habit.
As a rule of thumb if someone has 3 chances to practice a Habit between surveys you should have fertile soil for input and discussions. More frequent keeps it more top of mind.
This means for example that Habits which could only be exhibited in a once a month decision making meeting may only be sent out quarterly. But Habits related to norms in discussions could go out weekly as the team likely discusses many times a week.