Habits, we all have them such as the way you hold a pen or drink a cup of coffee, right down to the way we floss out teeth, and, believe it or not, changing some of those habits may result in changes of such a basic nature that our companies, or, at the very least, our lives are transformed.
For example, one person in Duhigg’s work changed her life completely. For example, she stopped smoking and began exercising, including walking to work. Indeed, she has even run a marathon and the results of her major change of habit have been amazing. Her life has come together and her work improvement has brought her the reward of a promotion.
Of course, as Duhigg notes, this required a major commitment and major changes in her life. However, she was willing to make them to ensure that her life was better.
The results, which were confirmed by before and after testing by neurologists and other researchers, illustrated that the habits we fall into affect not only our work, but also how we do the work.
These results appear in Charles Duhigg’s comprehensive and authoritative work, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.
All around us, as Duhigg’s research notes, there are examples of just how important habit is to ensuring the success or failure of a product. Here’s a current example, dealing with one of Procter and Gamble’s core products, Febreze. In the example, a cluttered, paper-strewn and dog-hair strewn house is sprayed in key areas with Febreze and then samples of the marketing group are brought in blindfolded. Each person is perfectly happy with the supposedly happily clean home they are sitting it, until they remove their blindfolds and when you see he looks on their faces, you know they are not happy.
That Febreze is around, though, to make these ads is amazing in itself. It seems some years ago, P&G had this product, Febreze, and no one knew what to do with it. It as aimed at keeping bedding clean. As Duhigg noted, it took a long study and lots of analysis to see something they had been missing. It was a small bed-making habit and when the Febreze team implemented the habit change, sales took off to the point that Febreze is one of P&G’s core business lines with over $1 billion in sales per year. Yes, sometimes habit changes can be over-the-top and noticeable, but other times they are small and incremental.
The list goes on and on and involves some of the leading firms in America and usually involves reshaping only one or two habits so the business will come around, and it does. In each case, key people recognize that habits need changing and then they go about changing them.
Working closely with the leading neurological teams and neurologists, Duhigg uses oils to paint a picture of an area of study that brings people the type of success they need for long-term achievement. No, it is not easy and there will likely be resistance, but the changes, as Duhigg points out, work. And, if it works, the changes need to be implemented, given the economic conditions we are facing.