Improvement21: Good habits in. Bad habits out!

- Practices & Exercises

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by Louise Brace

What’s it all about, this life?

Psychologists believe that you are what you think and what you do. So the more you repeat something, the more you become that something. An interesting article titled The 3 R’s of Habit Change by Behavioural Psychologist James Clear suggests:

  • Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits.
  • How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits.
  • How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits.
  • How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.

Work habits are some of the most difficult to break. We become used to running our organization in the same way; or as employees we fear a career change, even though we aren’t happy in the one we are in. We are in a continuous state of bad habit living. Andrea and Ángel imagined a world of work which was not filled with soulless jobs and environments. And so Improvement21 was born…

Improvement21 combines agile principles with the ancient Japanese practice of Kaizen. Kaizen is made up of two words: Kai, which means Change, and Zen, which means Good. It relates to the art of continuous improvement and that’s exactly what the creators of Improvement21 are setting out to achieve with organizations around the world – a continuous state of improvement. Teaching businesses and their people how to break bad habits, adopt good ones and how to continuously improve their organization’s cultural DNA.

So what’s in the number 21?

We often set out to make improvements in our life. Perhaps we attend a workshop, start the art lessons we’ve always wanted, or join the gym to get fit. During the course of our lifetime, we’ll probably have tried several life improving exercises (and some!). But what happens? A month later, we’ve let it slip and reverted back to our comfort zone.

Ángel explains that there is a common belief that our minds need 21 days to kick or make a habit. I remember when our Jennifer Riggins was trying the hot/cold shower technique to kick colds. We told her she had to keep going for 21 days to make the habit. She actually did it!

How does Improvement21 work?

Improvement21 Logo

Angel and Andrea believe that in order to instill a culture of continuous improvement in an organization you have to develop a habit of improvement. Their mission is to teach people how to make positive steps forward and accompany them on the journey.

Just like a Karate Kata details the patterns of movements in a series of Karate moves, so does the method of Agile Kaizen provide a helpful framework to decode the way forward in organizational improvement and to help stick to good habits.

It’s exactly the same in business. When organizations are going through a transformational change they need to reset the beliefs of their employees, change daily routines and how people and teams interact. Improvement21 work with teams to inspire them into simple practices that will seamlessly take them through the change period and out the other side, achieving continuous improvement and introducing better cultural behaviour.

It doesn’t matter if your organization is going through the transformation to agile, or changing to a more customer-focused company culture; even deploying a wellbeing program for your employees, the Improvement21 team will help you tackle complex change scenarios. Instilling good habits in your organization, such as continuous learning and experimentation.

This is far from a traditional training program. Andrea and Ángel are developing an agenda of activities and exercises that will teach organizations how to allocate time for improvement and build better habits.

As Andrea explains, “Improvement is a regular process, you have to stick to it and make it like a habit. It’s almost like a continuous retrospective, in which you are regularly reflecting on performance and how to improve it. And new habits are much easier to keep when worked on as a team. You support each other and share the experience. We believe that companies should now be thinking how to engage and support groups of people collaborating on organizational improvement.”

With the guidance of Improvement21 organizations can learn how to engage and motivate a team, create a company culture that attracts likeminded people and great talent, and improves the processes and products of your organization. And most importantly improves YOU!

What good habits do you bring to your organization? And how do you share those good habits with teams and coworkers. We’d love to know.

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