Peak Communicators
March 16, 2015

Changing Habits Through Leadership

In this final post of our leadership series, we outline what Art of Leadership speaker Charles Duhigg discussed in relation to the power of habit. In particular, he explored how leadership can improve and change habits.

Duhigg informed the room that, according to recent research he’d seen, 45% of what we do is habit. He explained the habit loop, emphasizing the importance of reward in forming habits.


What I found interesting was his take on unplanned organizational habits. He illustrated this point by talking about how we operate in the workplace daily, often without even realizing what we’re doing and how we’re behaving. For example, we operate in silos or we stick to our own job descriptions and won’t interfere with others. He highlighted this by talking about the Kings Cross fire in London which killed 31 people and injured 100. From what I understood, Duhigg was suggesting that, if London Underground employees hadn’t stuck to their job descriptions and silos, the fire may have been prevented from spreading.

Obviously there are always a lot of factors to consider in these kinds of situations but, talking us through the steps and habits of how the employees responded, certainly confirmed his theory. Ultimately, unplanned organizational habits prevented anyone from taking crucial action.

So how do we change habits? Again, it’s a big topic and one that I cannot do justice to in a short blog post. But I would add:

  • Will power is key
  • Recognize that habits spill into all areas of life; identify those you truly want to change
  • Identify what provides you with an opportunity for change
  • Find habits that deliver emotional rewards

Hopefully this leadership series has given you some thoughts, tips and tricks to apply to your workplace environment, teams and individual development. The key to success and growth is keeping things simple and realistic. So be sure to identify what you believe will work for you and focus on a selection of these points. And don’t be afraid to have check-ins with yourself and others. Documenting progress, getting feedback, and being open to change will ultimately allow you to become a more successful leader.

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March 10, 2015

Leadership Lessons from an Olympic Medallist

To follow-on from last week’s blog post exploring leadership qualities and approaches in more detail, I wanted to share key Art of Leadership takeaways from five-time Olympic medalist, Hayley Wickenheiser. Hayley gave an inspiring and entertaining talk which had everyone in the audience captivated. In particular, it was a good reminder that great leaders can be found everywhere – not just in the corporate world.

Hayley’s tips included:

  • It’s important to differentiate between your role and yourself
  • Keep perspective in check – be present
  • Lead from the front – show your team the way
  • Lead from behind – step out of the way
  • Do the best job you can
  • Have the courage to step ahead of fear
  • Find the courage to stick to the plan
  • Celebrate the small successes as well as the big wins
  • Find unity in adversity
  • Enjoy the ride!

Although short and sweet, a lot of Hayley’s points came from her experience training with her team and then becoming the team captain. I think any of these tips can be applied to the corporate world and are just as valid as some of the more corporate-based suggestions that may delve deeper into strategy and relationships. Often, keeping things real and keeping things simple are what will really be effective and have a genuine impact on people.

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