The pattern is familiar - you attend a training program, you learn a number of new skills, you commit to improving the way you work, but upon return to work, you fall back into your old routine.
We all want to improve our skills to be more effective in our jobs. However, even though we may have the best of intentions, changing our habits is a difficult challenge.
A habit is an unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition. Understanding and applying the process for creating a new habit is essential to making change stick.
If you truly wish to improve your skills after training, follow this five-step process:
- Clarify your motivation to change. Determine the benefit to you and your team from improving your skills. Will you have more time for higher value activities or experience less stress? Will you be more productive and engaged? You need a reason to use your new skills.
- Focus on one habit at a time. Determine which aspect of your style that you need to change the most to accomplish your goals. We all have a tendency to tackle too many priorities at the same time. Take small steps and work on one skill until it becomes second nature.
- Identify the triggers. The most common trigger is when you are required to make a decision. For example, you have a task to be accomplished. Stop and ask yourself, “Am I the only person on my team who could accomplish this task?” Take a moment and reflect on whether you can delegate instead of doing it yourself.
- Commit to your new habit for one month. Habits require repetition. You may feel uncomfortable when you begin to use your new skills. You may also lack confidence that your new behaviors will work. Promise yourself that you will try and continue to repeat the process. The results will speak for themselves.
- Ask others for feedback. In the interests of partnership and transparency, ask other for their feedback on your new skills or style. Review your own progress as well. Are you accomplishing the results that you were anticipating by changing your style?
Focus on creating new habits this week!