Volume 47
February 17, 2021
Snapshots: For the Better
  • Let’s recognize
  • Shrinking the change
  • 1% better
  • The 4 Laws
  • Feedback loop
  • Keeping score
Recognize may be defined as, “to admit as being of a particular status or as being one entitled to be heard.” While recognizing patients’ hearing loss and medical profiles, do we also recognize essential ways colleagues should be heard? To achieve professional goals, charismatic leaders and team members grow into change agents for the better. When fine-tuning integral processes, inevitable challenges require understanding how to favorably alter personal patterns.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.”
— Leo Tolstoy
“Shrinking the Change” employs small steps to instill healthy habits by:

  • Planting logical seeds for success
  • Nurturing consistency
  • Celebrating small wins which build momentum

Even with thoughtfully designed programs, deftly managing behavior change demands tenacity. With packed schedules and daily crosscurrents, ingrained habits can be counterproductive. Progressive leaders proactively influence behavior change at personal and team levels. With dedicated practice, they train colleagues to leverage good habits and minimize bad ones.

Habits are behaviors which via repetition become automatic and changing small habits can make big differences. In James Clear’s influential book, Atomic Habits, we see how getting 1% better at a task every day produces results 37 times better after one year.
With these ambitions, we learn how to systematically apply
The Four Laws of Behavior Change:

  1. Make it obvious
  2. Make it attractive
  3. Make it easy
  4. Make it satisfying

Each law molds habit formation with a Four-Step Feedback Loop:
Cues. Throughout busy days, hundreds of cues influence us, consciously and unconsciously. Seemingly invisible cues are constantly present and habitual awareness guides behavioral adjustments to notable activity patterns. As psychologist Carl Jung emphasized, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
From start to finish, hundreds of clinical action steps are taken daily and team members should, in their own style, create a habits scorecard. To initiate this process, for perhaps one week, list core habits and pinpoint whether each one’s impact on goal achievement is Positive, Negative or Neutral.
In practice, we aim to increase the number and impact of positive habits, while conversely decreasing negative habit effects. Together with colleagues, cues can positively influence our habit formation by applying three other logical techniques which Make it Obvious:

  • Implementation intention. “When situation X arises, I will perform response Y.” For example, at every final fitting, I will have caring conversations with delighted patients about who in their circle of life would benefit from our trusted expertise.

  • Habit stacking. “After doing this current habit, I will perform this new one.” For example, when having advocacy conversations, I will kindly share pertinent educational information with patients. Or personally, to get more exercise, when seeing steps in a building, I will take them instead of elevators.

  • Environmental shaping. Visual cues for calls to action are key. From reception to waiting room or testing to consultation, each space can trigger healthy habits. With your array of targeted educational materials, attention-getting displays should maximize visibility and impact.

By picking up on more cues, we make healthy habits more obvious.
Cravings are powerful desires to act and anticipated pleasures increase their likelihood. Just as one might crave chocolate, environmental influences kindle cravings. To maximize wellness referrals, subject matter expertise cravings can trigger desires to discover Pearls of Wisdom which empower us to be more educationally persuasive.
In reality, we often choose behaviors that help us fit in. Practice culture norms exert powerful influences as we mimic habits of our closest colleagues. In this sense, with agile leadership, group dynamics encourage similar belief systems on the significance of comorbidity awareness. With conversational modeling a catalyst, well-versed professionals comfortably explain how better hearing is better healthcare, craving opportunities to help more patients fully experience joys of hearing.

Temptation bundling is a habit-forming technique connecting wants and needed actions. For example, colleagues want increased income and career growth which supports their family. To achieve their wants, there are certain things they must do, such as nurturing wellness referrals. Further, are there wonderful causes your practice is eager to champion, such as dementia or diabetes organizations? Charitable desires, the want, can boost enthusiastic engagement with admirable community initiatives.

By shaping productive cravings, we make healthy habits more attractive.

With continued focus on habit formation, next week’s issue will spotlight Making it Easy and Making it Satisfying, leading to recognition which acknowledges and shows appreciation. Whether motivated by peer admiration, money or prizes, in personally effective combinations, many behavioral influencers can intentionally motivate fulfilling outcomes.

As always, we appreciate your interest in ...
Bruce Essman
High Definition Impressions (HDI)

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