The Power of Habit (Chapter 4)


I am trying the new homepage editor at WordPress and I can’t find how to categorize so I guess I do that afterwards.  This is a “What I Learned” post.  I wanted to write about several chapters in the book.  But, with overtime and baseball season started reading is being postponed.  This is a summary of my notes on Chapter 4.

When Paul O’Neil was hired to run Alcoa he decided to focus the company on safety.  He did this not just to save lives.  By focusing on safety the company had to upgrade outdated equipment.  It had to create a method to communicate about injuries and corrections made as a result of those injuries.  Such communication paths could also be used for telling management about other improvements that could be made in processes.  In fact Alcoa was using a networked communication platform long before the other companies.  The safety habit led to changes in other habits and improved Alcoa’s profitability.

Another example of one habit that can change other aspects of behavior is keeping food journals.  Overweight people who kept food journals discovered patterns in their eating that they could change.  Moreover they began to plan their daily meals in advance without any prompting to do so.  So, just by seeing how they eat on a daily basis people began to make positive changes.

This may cause me to revisit math journals. Rather than giving specific prompts like I used to do I might just ask students some weeks to write down whenever they did work for the course and tell what they did for how long.  If a student is reflective and motivated this may help them change to better study habits.

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