Sunday 8 September 2013

13.1 The Power of Habit - Thoughts II

Belief and Small Wins.

These two concepts are delved into in surprising ways for the former and thought provoking for the latter.

The books states that, "for some habits, however,  there's one other ingredient that's necessary: belief" (Duhigg, 2012, P. 79). I completely concur with this observation, but was shocked at the example used to drive home the impact of belief in the creation of a positive habit loop. Death served as the example. More specifically,  it was the tragic death of a coach's son that drove a group of professional football players to believe in their coaches plan. While the book does acknowledge the morbid nature of this example, it was not the only one used in the book. Later on the reaction to a death of an employee by the CEO served to create belief at the C-level and thereby dedication to the CEOs vision. I hope that the author does not rely on this method of delivery in the chapters to come.

The notion of belief did spur thought on belief. Consider:
1. Belief in yourself
2. Belief in your company
3. Belief in management
4. Belief in your product, service or end goal
5. Belief in your employees
6. Belief in your plan

All of these have greatly varying hurdles of height to overcome. Which one is the most important in driving your success in work or in your personal life? Something to think about indeed.

Moving on to small wins. They were covered in a much better light. To define the term, small wins contribute toward the adoption of habits that create overall success. My personal take is that small wins is experience and the culmination of this experience impacts belief in yourself. The point here is that experience in life teaches that certain behaviours result in the rewards you seek. The repetition of success and rewards strengthens these behaviours. A problem that one can encounter is a group of detractors who challenge your habits because they have not seen them work. They have not had your experience and therefore do not relate to habits that may have not garnered the same results. A second problem is a lack of experience and thus not enough small wins to reinforce the habits that drive success. Small wins and personal experience surely deserve more attention and thought.

At this point, the book has my full attention - |I want to see where it takes me and where I take myself after completing it.

Monday 2 September 2013

13. The Power of Habit - Thoughts I

Every book creates positive or negative impressions. I am not bothered by a book presenting either. What is important to me is the inspiring of critical thought and the challenging of my current believes. The Power of Habit is surely accomplishing the former because I am drawing on my knowledge and experience to deeply examine premise put forth in the book. The following is a short discussion on my thoughts of the principles of habit formation and creation presented in the book thus far.
The Golden Rule is to maintain a cue and a reward for a habit, but insert a new routine into this reward loop to be reinforced to the point it becomes a habit. In so doing, one removes an undesired habit or routine and replaces it with the desired behaviours. What of rewards such as a smoothie after working out. If one is not truly motivated by the endorphins created from working out or the progress one experiences in getting fit, then this reward seems of little value. Why not just skip working out and go have a smoothie.
This thought touches on another I have been pondering. Some of the powerful rewards mentioned in the book are the feeling of satisfaction when cleaning, the feeling of a clean mouth after brushing ones' teeth. These feelings are intrinsic motivators influencing behaviour. How powerful are the external motivators in this reward loop?
The creation of competitive routines to supplant existing routines is a vital decision. The book suggests replacing smoking with coffee. In reading the book, it does not feel as this is purely an example. Coffee to me, could end up being another damaging habit that could easily be combined with smoking. This either exposes or downplays the critical need for choosing a competitive routine that is not detrimental to your well being or business success.
According to the book we can create habits for completing incredible complex tasks. For instance the act of driving a car. However, can we create habits for incredibly dynamic tasks such as sales. There is no one set of habits that results in success, there is no one pathway to secure a sales. It a complex array of moving parts that, unlike a car, change in their functions and motivations every time you get in.

Feel welcome to chime in any thoughts you might have  - the more the merrier.

12. HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.

This book is one of many business books put out by the Harvard Business Review and is authored by Nancy Duarte. In short, this delivers all it promises and more.

This book is impactful! As I read the book, I found that the techniques illustrated were creeping their way into my work and public presentations. In conversations with colleagues, I found myself referencing the book very often with my reference very well received and even to the point of asking for the name and author. To go one step further, a member of B2B books used this book as the foundation for a huge presentation to a high level and especially lucrative client. In fact, it was his biggest deal ever and he won it.

The most impactful them in the book was the idea of consistently illustrating the gap between the current situation or where one is and the desire situation. In a persuasive presentation one must always be emphasising this gap to combat resistance to change and hammer home the absolute need for change. In effect this creates a rhythm to the presentation which is easy to follow and likely to alter the viewpoints of your listeners.

Another concept that was not new but is worth repeating is brainstorming. When planning a presentation brainstorm all the best ideas possible and then throw them out and doing it again. Your first best ideas have already been thought of by someone else, so scraps them and go for something fresh. However, do not stop there. Bring in people from all around you to have a group brainstorming session and once again scrap the first round of ideas put everyone to the limit to get the best ideas possible. While brainstorming is a common techniques this idea of extended brainstorming is a great practice.

Moving on in the book, a chapter discusses how to prepare your audience. The atmosphere in the room, the lighting, the layout, and the music are some items to consider. There is also personal appearance to set the tone for the right message being sent to the right people. This goes hand in hand with your disposition; your passion will carry you and your humble attitude can demonstrate a lack of hubris. The most influential preparation is the sending of pre-presentation materials to attendees. This does not have to be strictly information. How about an short video introduction, an agenda, or what the audience should get of the presentation.

Looking at the book as a whole, it is a remarkable reminder of all you know to put into a presentation and a detailed guide of all the items you should include in a persuasive presentation. This is a book that has become a fixture in my office, but not on the bookshelf - on my desk.