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Make doing the right thing a habit

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Make doing the right thing a habit

Scott Miker

Years ago I was listening to a successful business owner talk about the culture he created at his company. He talked about how he made it a point to have employees do the right thing.

He talked about it to employees. He made sure his decisions followed the creed to do the right thing. He would do what is right when the choice presented was between the right thing that was hard and a shortcut.

The strange thing was that he didn’t explain what the right thing was. He didn’t dictate what was right and wrong. He simply pushed the idea that we have to do the right thing.

He then gave examples when this culture paid off. One example came when a large quantity of orders was about to be sent out and they realized there was a problem with the printing system and the names and addresses got mixed up.

It was determined that the right package would get to the right customer. But those customers would be confused when the name on the package was someone else.

As the employees talked through the problem and how to fix it, someone stopped and said that they should just send the packages out rather than spend more time fixing it just to avoid confusion.

One employee spoke up and just said that everyone knew the right thing to do here. Suddenly they all agreed and started to work on fixing the labels for the packages.

The owner was nearby and the employees didn’t realize he was within earshot. That was when the owner knew that he was building a culture that would continue to thrive.

We all know what is right and wrong. We can justify making poor decisions and doing the wrong thing until we convince those around us that we are right. But inside we know what is truly the right thing to do.

Yes there will be times when you have to choose between multiple bad options. Sometimes the right thing means more hard work and sacrifice. But if we can learn to follow that internal voice telling us what is right we can make it a habit, just like the business owner made that a cultural value within his company.

It isn’t about making lists of what is right so that we know. It is simply learning to listen to our conscious and then making sure we follow what it tells us.

We don’t try to talk ourselves out of what is right or find a loophole. Instead we inherently know what is right and then we act.

If we do this over and over again it will start to become automatic. It will become habit. It will become a powerful way to live life.

Yes some times you will be wrong. Sometimes you will choose the bad option. Sometimes you will still convince yourself why it is right despite feeling wrong.

Habits are powerful ways to build our character to determine who we are and what we believe in. By choosing the right thing to do again and again we will make it easier in the future to keep choosing the right thing.