This week could not have gone more right. You know you beginning to master something when you can begin to predict outcomes. Once again our biggest success has come directly after our biggest failure, which funnily enough came after our previously biggest success. It seems that every time we fail we learn something that helps us more than we are harmed by the preceding failure. So after a wildly successful rollover we need to hold to those lessons and not let the common theme with out past failures of being “blinded by success” creep in. No, not this week, this week is going to be consistent. This week the problem that I want to focus on is not letting habit slip, combining all of our lessons in to solid strategy to take the top position.
In earlier week I talked about the ideas of success compounding into opportunity, with success being comprised of hard work, skill and luck. I’ve talked about drawing islands of insight from data and largely not going to be blinded by our success or confidence. Enforcing positive habit is the master-lesson and key double-loop learning take away that I can draw (Synnott, 2013). We must to not draw insight from failures in an isolated manner, but we must repeatedly execute under the principals of all of those lessons. I must combine the key takeaways from my reflections of the past ten weeks of staying hungry, scrounging for every dollar, being open to changing paradigms and assumptions, knowing what exactly you want to achieve, drawing deep insights from data, playing the long term game and not being blinded by confidence.
As Greiner, (1972) pointed out as a common trend, in our drive to grow, our team has often overlooked success-critical questions. These include “where has our organization been, where is it now and what does this mean for where we are going?” (Greiner, 1972) - or in other words the context of our firm. I realize now that as difficult as it is to initially juggle the one-hundred and one lessons keys and rules to succeed, every single thing is part of the equation. And the habit of not letting any of these things slip will get easier with time. In an attempt not to become “frozen in our present stage of evolution” (Greiner, 1972) I plan to stress team decisions that are based on a foundation of our wider context (with past, present and future problems, lessons and opportunities).
Ethics, morality and discipline are all muscles. The more you exercise it, the more concrete and strong they become. In the words of the original Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, “you don’t lose your soul all at once, you lose it a little bit at a time”. Originally there is a clear line of right and wrong in your head, but stepping over and stepping back blurs that line for the future. Just like getting into a hot bath, it’s really hot at first, but you adjust and soon enough you’re completely submerged. “It’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time” (Christensen, 2010). The logic of “just this once,” (which is based on a present/short-term marginal cost gains), doesn’t take into account the downward spiral of detraining positive habits. Without exercising the discipline of dealing with discomfort and complexity, and to instead take the easier road simply because it’s less difficult, “you’ll regret where you end up” (Christensen, 2010). Every step you take that does not reinforce your values and habits, work negatively to make it easier to step over the line next time you’re faced with an internal conflict. Just like habit being an exercisable muscle, excuses are infections and spread to all aspects of our lives, negatively reinforcing their effect. With consecutive habit violations, the logic you use to justify exceptions to your personal rules become increasingly easier to apply to other situations and easier to rationalize subconsciously (no matter how illogical).
For me, the idea of self-reinforcing positive habits is a lesson that can be applied to all aspects of my life. In terms of MGMT 300 however, I plan to practice once again being comfortable with the discomfort of complexity and sticking to the many foundational principals and lessons we have collected over the last ten weeks. Building on the positive habits, and with the expectation that uncomfortable complexity will be easier to manage this time around, I intend to “facilitate greatness” in my team to help them claim the top spot for this assignment. Oh, and it looks like I’ve learnt something this week too –Perfect.
Christensen, C. M. (2010). How will you measure your life? Harvard Business Review, 88(7/8), 46-51.
Greiner, L. E. (1972). Evolution and revolution as organizations grow. Harvard Business Review, 50(4), 37-46.
Synnott, M. (2013). Reflection and double loop learning- The case of HS2. Teaching Public Administration, 31(1)