Book Notes – The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

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Notes from Audiobook listening:

Keystone habits are things like a regular gym routine. Around that, if executed well, healthy eating, less smoking, less drinking occur.

YMCA example of discovering that the most powerful element of stickiness to a healthy exercise routine was feeling that the gym was a place you saw friends. YMCA built a small group program.

Church pastor did something similar, church exploded. It wasn’t about the Sunday sermon but what happened during the week with small groups.

Organizational habits can be accidental and negative. Example of nurses keeping a secret whiteboard with doctors names who listened, didn’t and those who exploded when someone questioned them. Led to a lot of problems.

Paul O’Neil and Alcoa. Everything was about safety. When it counted, he demonstrated that. When an exec didn’t report an accident, even a small one, he looked into it and fired the exec. This focus broke down communication barriers and led to huge changes in innovation in the organization. To maximize safety old barriers of communication had to be broken. Front line employees had to speak to senior managers to get info to them fast. Everything was about safety. The halo effect was massive. Completely changed the company.

Habit: Trigger, action, reward. Focusing on the action is critical in breaking down habit change.

Habits break decision capability. Similar to How We Decide, you need to focus on what people react to subconsciously. Such as Febreeze and toothpaste realizing smell and taste were the most important rewards. Febreeze was supposed to eliminate odor, no one wanted it. Once it had a fresh smell, it took off. Toothpaste doesn’t need minty flavor. But that reward is something people crave.

Focus on keystone habits to effect the most positive change. Focus on rewards to make habits sticky.

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This post originally appeared at Zach Ware's Notebook.

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