Your Organizational Habits: Friend or Foe?

How True is Your Path?How True is Your Path?

strategic planning: innovation: management:success


We all have habits. Some good and some not so good. It’s the same for our organizations. Some foster organizational progress and some detract from it. Are the ingrained habits at your organization working to benefit the company or are they aiding and abetting the competition?

Old habits die hard. That’s why they are called habits. But when habits prevent fresh thinking, become out of date routine patterns, or become mindless repetition, habits can become disruptive.


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle

It’s a good idea to occasionally review the habits that become part of every organization. The six inquiries for such a Habit Audit are:

1) What are your organizational habits? Do you know what they are? Can you compile a list of them? Are there any “unspoken habits” that are not generally acknowledged?

2) Is the habit supportive of your culture, vision, mission, strategies or objectives? Or does it detract in some fundamental way?

3) What drove the formation of the initial habit? Does it continue to make sense?

4) Does the habit give you a competitive advantage or does it put you at a serious disadvantage? Times change and sometimes our habits need to adjust. Dynamic organizations are always evolving.

5) What behaviors are driven by the habit? Do they move your organization in the desired direction?

6) Are the benefits of the habit greater than the cost? What resources does the habit consume and does it contribute to organizational growth?

Is your organization habitual in the things that matter? Be sure to acknowledge and evaluate the habits that permeate your organization. It’s a healthy check-up process and “a good habit” to boot.


A specialty manufacturer asked me to evaluate a product cost model it had been using for 40 years. At one time, the model’s concepts were cutting edge, but they had grown obsolete as manufacturing changed over the years.

The company had evolved from a labor-intensive to a capital-intensive operation, and this had major implications for the underlying allocation assumptions in the old model. However, despite convincing information about the model’s shortcomings, the management team held on to it. Their emotional attachment to a piece of company history was more powerful than the facts – a problem that could undermine the company’s productivity and bottom line. The habit of the “old model” became a threat to the future of the company.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn

Greg Pashke , CMC is  President of Pashke Consulting and provides business mentoring, strategic and tactical planning, and financial modeling services. Greg is a big proponent of The One Page Plan approach to managing the day to day performance of an organization. He is committed to continuous learning and skill development. Greg’s mantra is “to get a lot done & have a lot of fun”.

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