How to create good work habits?

Create Good Work Habits

Take a small action that you perform every day. Its cumulative effect(over days, weeks, months and years) could be huge.

Let’s say, in 2011,you decided to read a new article related to your field of specialisation daily.By 2016, you would have read 1,825 articles by just devoting10 minutes to this habit every day.You would have also enhanced your level of knowledge, expertise and authority in your chosen field.

Avinash Johnson, 28, a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology — Kharagpur, has handled challenging assignments with General Electric during his stint with them. Nowa senior software professional with Oracle, he has a high stress job with multiple demands on his time. According to Avinash,his life would be chaotic without good work habits. He zeroes in on four habits that have helped him the most.

1. Avinash religiously maintains a list of tasks to be done and sticks to it, updating the leftovers in the next day’s list.
2. To handle the stress, he meditates for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes after coming back from work.
3. He replies to e-mails immediately after reading them. This habit, he says was the hardest to develop, but is extremely rewarding. It saves him time; he does nothave to go through the e-mail again, which he would have had to do if he replied later. It alsoreduces the clutter in his inbox — and his mind.
4. Avinash does not carry work home, though he is always tempted to do so. This has helped him maintain the much-needed balance between work and life.

Here is a step-by-step process that will help youcreate powerful professional habits. This, in turn, will take you to the next level of success in your career.

Step 1: Gain clarity about your goals

Gain clarity about your goals - Create Good Work Habits

Unless you are clear about the result you want, you will not be able to decide which habits to develop. Apparently, when George Bernard Shaw was trying to make it as a writer, he realised he was not doing a very important thing– he was not writing every day. He decided to write five pages every single day, no matter how uninspired he was. This isan example of someone who created a habit with a very clear purpose in mind.
You need to decide the result you want to achieve.

Step 2: Decide habits you want to develop

Decide habits you want to develop - Create Good Work Habits

Which habits are most useful in helping you reach your goal?

If you want to be a manager or an administrator, it is critical that you have excellent time management skills. Maybe, you need to develop a habit of religiously writing down your tasks for the day every single morning.

If you want to be successful at an exam like CAT or GMAT and math is a problem area,you might want to develop the habit of doing at least 10 math problems everyday.

If you want to achieve excellence in technology, you might want to develop the habit of reading at least one article from a technical journal every day.

If you are setting goals for yourself, you might want to develop the habit of revisiting your goals everyday and planning a daily action list based on those goals.

Developing conscious habits in any sphere of life is extremely rewarding. Here are a few examples of some good work habits you can develop.

1. Replying to e-mails within a specified time of receiving them.
2. Planning for delays and being punctual.
3. Having an organised hard disc or file folders.
4. Writing a journal — ‘What did I learn today?’
5. Creating half-an-hour of ‘quiet time’, when you learn something new related to your job everyday.
6. Reading an inspirational quote or article everyday.
7. Daily meditation/ exercise for stress relief.
8. Spending some time on a passion/hobby to recharge yourself.

Now, I want you to brainstorm and come up with 12 power habits you want to develop. Twelve, because we are going to make a yearly plan.

Step 3: Prioritise according to urgency

Prioritise according to urgency - Create Good Work Habits

Take a long, hard look at the list of power habits you want to develop. Rank it inorder of urgency — which of these habits do you need to start working on right away?

Step 4: Habit of the month

Habit of the month - Create Good Work Habits

We are not going to work on more than one habit per month. If you try to develop six habits in a month, you will probably find it too hard and give up (though this would depend upon your level of self-discipline). So, let us not set ourselves up to fail. Let us set ourselves up to succeed.

Starting today, for the next one month — you must, every single day, practise the habit you have listed as most important. You have to do this for a month ie 31 days. If you break the habit on any particular day, you have to start over and do it again for 31 days.

After you have successfully completed your first habit, you can move on to habit number 2. When you do this,you will notice the first habit you worked on has already become part of your nature; you don’t need to make an effort to sustain it.

If, after continuing a habit for 31 days, you may find you have a rational reason not to continue with it. That is okay. You can quit after you have followed a habit continuously for 31 days (and, if you trust me, you won’t). However, you must not quit a habit within31 days of beginning to practise it.

In one year, you would thus have developed 12 powerful new habits, which would probably stay with you for a lifetime. In the course of time, these habits will effortlessly help you achieve the results you most desire.

Think of the alternative. These 12 months would pass anyway. But, if you adopt this programme to inculcate habits that support your goals,you will be able to move closer to them and feel a greater level of fulfilment and joy — which is a natural side-effect of self-discipline.

Make Teamwork Work

Make Teamwork Work

At the heart of the cliche of Teamwork, lies a powerful truth.

After the Second World War, Japan was defeated and humiliated; two of their cities razed by powerful atom bombs. It was a country you probably wouldn’t bet your money on in 1950. Yet, Japan rose from the ashes. In the decades following World War II, it became the third largest economy in the world. This, despite the fact that it does not have any great natural resources and is rocked by earthquakes and tsunamis.

Japanese companies went on to give tough competition to the tsars of automobile and electronics industry. The ‘Made in Japan’ symbol suddenly stood for best in quality.American consumers, forgetting the bitterness of Pearl Harbor and the Second World War, were choosing Japanese products over American ones.

This led to a spate of studies into why Japanese companies were outperforming their counterparts in the West. The studies, while identifying numerous socioeconomic and geopolitical factors, identified two intangible traits which gave an edge to the Japanese –Quality and Teamwork.
Let us try and understand some basic attitudes that would help you become a more effective team member:

What’s bigger — your ego or the team goal?

 Your ego or the team goal

It seems like an easy call, but many people find it amazingly tough. Teamwork, more than anything else, is a mindset. And it is extremely difficult for us to change our focus from ourselves as individuals to what the team is trying to do.

Most of the time, we are so focused on our own experience and feelings that we tend to ignore what the team is trying to do. If you can shift the limelight from yourself to the task at hand, your contribution and value in the team would increase tremendously. Ironically, when you shift your focus to the team’s goal, your ego’s needs are almost always automatically met.

The best way to get something…

The best way to get something - Make Teamwork

As a team member, what do you want?
Do you want recognition? Give recognition.
Do you want help? Give help.

Depending upon your world view, you might have an opinion about how ‘realistic’ this insight really is. Here is a suggestion though,try it. When you ‘fight’ for recognition or trust or resources, you reaffirm to yourself that there isn’t enough of it to go around, leading to a deficient experience.
When you give what you want freely, you tell yourself there is enough of it and manifest that in your team as well.

Your team members really want…

Your team members really want - Make Teamwork

In an organisational context, team members usually have two needs. The first is a need for motivation. The second is the need for competence. Any team member would contribute their bestif they want to contribute (motivation) and if they can

For example: in a game of cricket, I will perform best if I can play the game well (competence) and if I am motivated to perform (motivation). A good team member would identify my immediate need and try to fulfill it. When you interact with other team members, identify whattheir main need is and try to fulfill it.

If they need competence, coach them, teach them and guide them. If they need motivation, talk to them, listen to them, empathise with them and understand them. If you give a co-worker what they need, when they need it, you will build yourself a fan following.

Be comfortable with yourself

Be comfortable with yourself - Make Teamwork

What does this have to do with teamwork? Everything. Can you imagine yourself implementing the insights mentioned above without confidence or self-awareness?

All of us instinctively dislike pretentious people. This is because we know they are trying to be somebody else. The strong message that sends to us is that they don’t really like who they actually are. We tend to pretend or try and be somebody else because we are scared, we want acceptance and we want to be liked. Unfortunately, pretending never works in the long run and it usually doesn’t work in the short run either.

The millions of verbal and non-verbal signals that you send will reveal the truth anyway, irrespective of what you project. The only alternative is to really like yourself and be okay with who you are. People who win approval and acceptance are ironically, people who do not care much for it.
If you try to adopt the mindsets described in the article you will enhance the effectiveness of your role as a team-member. You will also become a valued resource and feel more comfortable in team settings.

Organizations – Wonderland?


Organizations are artificial structures which provide you a fantastic opportunity to associate with people you would never, ever associate with under normal situations. Organizations provide us with an unparalleled opportunity to grow, to become more, to express the best part of ourselves in a setting which claims to be about tasks, goals, targets, missions and all that… but is really about who you choose to be with respect to all of these and the people around you.

Probably if not for organizations, our experience would be severely limited in terms of the number and the kind of people we would associate ourselves with.

If you think about it, every single day – surrounded by a milieu of people whom you don’t know, probably are not like and probably do not like – it’s literally a rabbit hole down there waiting to be explored by you.

Successful Behavioral Interview at an IT Major

Industry: Computer Software & Services
Business Issues
  • Low quality of Manpower
  • Conflict between Recruitment & Operations
  • Recruiters not willing to be accountable for their decisions
  • Productivity
Cause Identified
  • Recruiters not confident of their hiring decisions
  • Recruiters do not understand  the hiring criteria clearly
  • Recruiters need to improve on their skill of interviewing to generate more data
  • Primary Research
  • Hiring Smart – Our two day workshop version on Interviewing Skills was customized to meet specific requirements
  • Change in behavior measured over the next six months (Kirkpatrick Level 3)