Changing Organisations One Pushup at a time

by | Aug 8, 2020 | Change |

pushup and organisational change

Doing one pushup before breakfast in the morning doesn’t seem like a big deal. And it won’t have an impact on your overall strength or fitness. Even if you do it for 60 days in a row. But it can change your life.

We often focus on the one pushup, but that is not the important bit. The important bit is the habit of doing a pushup before breakfast. We can set ourselves a goal of getting fitter or being able to do 100 pushups. These are fine goals, but we have a mental challenge of going from 0 to 100. And we often think if we don’t get to 100 on the first day or the end of the first week, we’ve failed and we give up trying.

However, going from 0 to 1 pushup feels a lot more doable. Almost everyone can do 1 pushup. So if we start there, we focus on the habit of doing pushups before breakfast. It almost becomes automatic. And going from 1 pushup to 2 again doesn’t feel like too big a leap once we’re doing 1 pushup. Slowly overtime 1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 3, all the way up to 100. And doing 100 pushups before breakfast each day will improve your fitness and could change your life.

But this isn’t a blog about fitness. It’s about organisational change and responsible digital transformation. In both areas we tend to want to go from a small base to an entire new way of being as an organisation. And expect the organisational or team culture to follow suit.

But it almost never happens this way.

What would happen if we focused on habits instead? In the change we seek, can we break it down into habits and then ask, what would the ‘one pushup’ equivalent be? Is it giving one compliment to each team member every day? Or is it sharing what progress you made in your project today? Or failures? Celebrating in a new way?

Change won’t happen overnight. It never does. But change happens when ‘people like us, do things like this.’

What is the habit you can start today?

For more on this idea, see James Clear’s Atomic Habits

Photo by Luis Quintero


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