Weekly Thought – December 22, 2020
Fred spoke often of disciplines for successful living. He considered the cultivation of habits a necessary practice for maturity. He strongly encouraged those around him to initiate systems of disciplined thinking which resulted in disciplined actions. In 1961 he was the keynote speaker for a Printing Industry of America national conference. This week’s email is excerpted from that address.
The Value of Good Habits
Nearly everything you have done today has been habitual. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have made it through the day. Good habits save time and energy. The Lord created our bodies to do things which habitually which keep us alive. If we had to decide to breathe each time our life span would probably be much shorter.
This is one of the problems with industrial reorganization. The habit structure is upset and operations slow down tremendously. It takes time to rebuild habits.
Here are some good habits to cultivate in your business:
1) Create a spirit in your organization that accepts challenges. Don’t allow people to get in the pattern of telling you why things cannot be done. When they begin, respond with “I know that. Tell me what we need to change in order to get it done.”
2) Change is okay; status quo is not. You know status quo is Latin for “the mess we are in.”
3) Accept ideas. As the leader you must engage with and incorporate new ideas before the organization will.
4) Don’t delay failures.
5) Get management on the offense. How many times do you see management fighting back instead of leading?
6) Develop the habit of good work. The President of one of my client companies told me, “Fred, I want everyone in my organization to step back from a completed task and say, ‘That’s good.’” Recently a 12 year old boy was recognized for saving his baby sister from a house fire using techniques learned in Boy Scouts. When asked about his actions he confidently responded, “I did a good job.”
7) Examine the things you are proud of. You have to watch this one carefully. The other day I was meeting with a company. When they outlined their accomplishments we examined them and found that many of them should have stopped long ago. Because they were proud of them they continued even after they had outlived their effectiveness.
8) Work smarter rather than harder. It is a mistake to applaud the efforts of someone for simply working harder. My mentor Maxey Jarman told me as a young executive “Show me the baby, don’t tell me about the labor pains.”
I know I haven’t told you anything you don’t already know. My job isn’t to tell you something new; my job is to remind you. I hope during this time together I have reminded you good habits are a key to successful living. Find one that works for you and make it real in your organization, your family, and your community.
This week think about: 1) Which of these 8 was the most helpful reminder? 2) How serious am I about establishing good habits even if that process causes some temporary disequilibrium? 3) Who can I help by sharing Fred’s ideas?
Words of Wisdom: “Good habits save time and energy.”
Wisdom from the Word: “For you know yourselves how you must imitate us, because we did not behave without discipline among you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:7 NET Bible)