Are you aware of what has become habit? It has been estimated that 70% of what we do each day is totally habitual. When I first read this I didn’t believe it and so I started observing my own day to day actions. It was a bit of a shock to discover that not only do I wash and dress in the same order but I shave in exactly the same set sequence and put my shoes on left foot first every time. My wife eats all her vegetables before eating the meat, while my daughter does the exact opposite, and while everybody folds their arms in their own particular way, it’s impossible to feel comfortable doing it in any other way (try it now and see what I mean).
The human brain is smart, and once it recognises that you do something frequently it will create a habit so that you can effectively forget about it and use your conscious thought processes to deal with important stuff, like looking out for Sabre Tooth Tigers or new business opportunities.
Out with the old…
Of course not all habits are beneficial but these tend to be the ones that sneak up on us while we are not really paying attention, like the morning cigarette or the 11 o’clock doughnut break.
The really powerful habits tend to be the ones we create, and this is as true for a business as it is for the individual. Individual success and business success are a product of what Jim Rohn described as ‘doing ordinary things extraordinarily well’. The problem is that in a business the boss can come up with the idea for the good habit she wants to instil but how does she get everybody to adopt it? It can’t be done the way that we adopt a personal habit because repetition only works if the same people are always performing the task and in business that is seldom the case. There is however a way to create good habits in your business that works every time; you tie them to a process.
Did you know that every airline pilot in the world still uses a simple checklist before every flight? With all the sophisticated equipment on the flight deck it still comes down to the equivalent of a pencil and a clip board to get things off the ground. On the checklist will be a series of small tasks that all have to be done with switches to flick and gauges to check, so where does the habit fit in? There is only one habit required to get all these checks made, the habit of filling in the checklist. Because there is a process in place that will not allow the flight to leave without completing the checklist everything gets done automatically, the pilot reaches for the checklist in the same way you put on your car seatbelt, it would be impossible not to, and this single habit becomes the first step in a structured process.
Teams, however large, can learn the habit of following a process and process driven businesses prosper where others fail. At The Reluctant Salesman we are all about processes because I originally created the philosophy to support my own sales success, I knew that I had a lousy memory and that I’m easily distracted so I created a way of structuring the business that supported me in getting stuff done.
I soon learned that the trick was to create processes that met two simple criteria; they had to work and they must never involve anything that I am not willing to do. For example, cold-calling works but I am not willing to do it, so I needed to create a direct contact method that worked as well or better than cold calling that I was willing to do; and I did.
It’s your habits that get you through the day and determine the outcomes you experience, which is why consciously creating habits that drive structured processes will transform not only your business but also the quality of your life.
I’m happy to share the process. Sign up for my newsletter using the form below and you’ll receive part one of my book Creating The Freedom To Sell which guides you through The Reluctant Salesman process. For those of you who’ve already signed up, my new book is coming soon…