A High School Dropout Is Not An Organization

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INTRODUCTION Each of our habits has a different catalyst and offers a unique payoff. Some are simple and others are complex, drawing upon emotional triggers and offering subtle neurochemical prizes. But every habit, no matter its complexity, is flexible, liable to change. The most addicted alcoholic can become not intoxicated. The most dysfunctional families can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a very efficacious executive. Changing habits is not just a matter of willpower, despite what you‟ve probably learned. Sure, we all have habits we‟ve tried to break and failed. And good habits we‟ve tried to acquire and dropped. But the real impediment to change for most people is not a lack of determination it‟s a lack of understanding how habit works. As it happens, habits all get modified in somewhat the same way. When an individual successfully quits smoking or an organization changes collective behavior to improve its safety standards, there are certain universal patterns at work. During their extensive studies of the underpinnings of habit in the 1990s, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered a simple neurological loop at the core of every habit. All habits, it turns out, consist of three parts: a routine, a reward and a cue. The researchers dubbed this the “habit loop.” As they studied people and organizations that had successfully changed stubborn, pernicious behaviors, they learned that they all followed more or less the same
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