Book review - The Power of Habit by Charles Duhig

  • 02 Nov 2018
  • Roger

The Power of Habit is non-fiction book that explores how habits are formed and what influences them. The author discusses how habits produce a desired result whether intended or not. The adage,” you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” may not be true anymore.

The author begins by describing the “Habit Loop” where by a cue is received, a pattern of behavior or Routine is performed and the individual is rewarded. The pattern can be completed eventually without the reward or a modified reward. Our lives are guided by habit loops. Without them our brains would potentially be overwhelmed by the minutiae of daily life and shut down. The author also describes the “Golden Rule of Habit Change”. Focusing on the primary simplest tasks (routines) to achieve success can be most beneficial. The example he used was an American football team and how they went from last place to the championship by focusing on one play at a time.

Keystone Habits are the habits that will matter the most to an organization. The example he used was the Aluminum Company of America or ALCOA. The company was underperforming at the time of a CEO change. The CEO implemented a safety-first strategy and a zero tolerance for any safety issues. While this may seem very simple, they are paramount for any company. This mantra assisted in the complete turn-around for ALCOA.

I found this concept of Keystone Habits to be applicable and beneficial for use in business continuity. By developing complex plans we may be planning to fail rather than creating streamlined plans focusing on Keystone Habits. Any company or organization can use the Power of Habit to build on a resilient embedded continuity program using habit loops. 

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, Published by Random house, 2012
405pp. ISBN 978-0-8129-8160-5 USA $16. 

About the author

Roger Stearns

Global Manager Business Continuity Mgmt.

In my current role at the Philips Center of Excellence my position is a Global Business Continuity Manager, our team develops efficient, effective BCM Programs. Taking program deliverable from thought leadership to full implementation. We consult with internal business partners, assist with exercising BCM & CMT plans. I have solid experience for implementing methods that align with business process objectives with a focus on customer service. I am proven performer that works effectively with team members, business clients, and gains the confidence of senior management. In addition to Business Continuity. I've lead Environmental, Health & Safety programs. In my role as the EHS Manager I've implemented a program, which is ISO 14000 and OSHAS 18000 compliant. My experience encompasses Manufacturing, engineering, Financial, back-office outsourcing & supporting processes. As the sole EHS manager, I developed, implemented, and reported on the overall program achievements and analysis. I've also been a Compliance Manager. As the compliance manager I served as the process owner for activities that serve to provide appropriate access to, and protect the privacy and integrity of patient and provider information. In my current role, as a BCM leader. I train Philips employee and managers on the BCM process, assist the with program role out, support the entire lifecycle of BCM and Crisis Management.