Business Bad Habits


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Businesses, like individuals, have habits.

Most businesses are not even aware of them. They go unnoticed by its founders, leaders and employees.

Habits are automated routines that occur without thinking. Some habits are good and some are bad.

Business bad habits can be as infectious as the Ebola virus, spreading throughout the organization, infecting one employee after another. These business bad habits, when left unchecked, will eventually become a part of your company’s culture, hampering growth and limiting your success.

Below is a list of some of the business bad habits that may be holding your business back.

Continuous Email Checking is a Bad Habit

There is no such thing as effective multitasking. Humans are simply incapable of focusing on more than one task at a time. Each time an employee checks their email, they become disengaged from the task at hand. They shift their attention, even momentarily, each time they check their email.

Studies show that a person who is interrupted, takes 50% longer to accomplish a task. This wasted time creates inefficiency that adds up daily, monthly, annually and over the course of an employee’s career with the company.

Not only that, employees make mistakes switching back and forth from from tasks: work to email, email to work, back and forth, all day long.

Checking email throughout the day wastes time, causes mistakes and costs your business money. The fix is to create an organizational good habit, requiring every employee to isolate a block of time each day to check their email.

Gossiping is a Bad Habit

Gossiping is a bad habit. It is almost always destructive in nature.  It damages working relationships and distracts employees from getting work done. Their minds are elsewhere, after being stabbed in the back by gossip.

Plus gossip is a negative use of time. Employees gossiping about other employees or their boss is a negative use of time.

When employees spend time gossiping, they have lost valuable time communicating about other important work-related issues that may need solving. They are focused on negative, destructive criticism, rather than positive, constructive criticism.

The best most successful companies have a “no gossip” policy. Dave Ramsey, famed radio host, has a “no gossip” policy in his company for this reason.

Blame is a Bad Habit

Something is always going wrong when you run a business. It’s part of the business environment. How you deal with mistakes and failures, as an organization, can dictate the overall success or failure of your business.

When leaders assign blame to employees for mistakes and failures, and when this blame causes negative career consequences to that employee, they are creating an organizational bad habit.

Too many businesses have a Cover Your Ass mindset rooted in the planning and assignment of blame whenever anything goes wrong. Eventually, this infects the entire organization.

The fix is to create a culture of seeing mistakes and failures as a good thing – a learning experience. That employee’s failure or mistake may very well uncover and important “what not to do” lesson that could benefit others in the organization.

Businesses who have a culture of encouraging or even rewarding mistakes and failures, grow. They create a culture where employees have no fear and readily take individual responsibility for their mistakes. They own the mistake.

Businesses who punish their employees for mistakes, don’t grow, lose market share and eek out a small profit or loss. In my organization I congratulate my staff for making mistakes because that means we’ve all learned something that will help us in the future become better as a team.

Excessive Planning is a Bad Habit

Too much planning is a bad organizational habit.

Excessive planning is rooted in fear. Fear holds organizations back from growing.

It is far better to take action and fail then to plan for every possible contingency. Only through action will companies find out what works and what doesn’t.

The fix is to set a deadline on planning for new projects or initiative. When that deadline comes, action commences. Even if it means all of your ducks are not lined up.

Organizations who act, grow. Those who don’t, stagnate.

Ignoring Employee Feedback is a Bad Habit

Feedback is critical to growth as an organization. Unfortunately, too many businesses feign interest in employee feedback but never act on that feedback. This disempowers employees, and will eventually lead to no feedback whatsoever.

Taking action on employee feedback empowers employees and motivates them to brainstorm for solutions, knowing their feedback will be acted upon.

Have you given any thought as to what organizational bad habits are holding your business back? Changing your organizational bad habits is a 3 step process:

  1. AWARENESS: Leaders need to seek feedback from their employees to help identify organizational bad habits.
  2. SUBSTITUTION: Once they become aware of organizational bad habits, they can eliminate them and substitute them with organizational good habits.
  3. TRACKING: The final step is to track the adoption of new organizational good habits throughout the organization at all levels, not just at the higher levels.

Businesses need to eliminate bad habits and replace them with make good habits. Those good habits will become part of your culture and help you achieve your goals, help you realize your vision and help you reach your destination.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Dan Riyce says:

    Awesome information Tom. Love the somple reminder. Thank you.

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