Why are some individuals & companies able to adapt to the changes of COVID-19 more
effectively than others? Last week we talked about adversity and change; this week, we
are exploring ways individuals effectively adapt to change.
After writing last week’s blog, I spent the next few days thinking about how people are
handling the challenges brought on from COVID-19. While searching for an answer, my
thought process drew me back to lessons from an Entrepreneurship class I took last fall.
For my Entrepreneurship class, I read the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
Duhigg describes the understanding of our everyday habits as understanding what we
do and why we do it.
Thinking back on the book and its lessons, I decided to interview Colin Stacy, Network
Administrator at Ember IT. My goal for the interview was to find connections between
the lessons of the Power of Habit and how Ember IT has navigated the challenges
presented by COVID-19.
Throughout the insightful interview, I noticed two observations about how Colin & Ember
IT are handling the challenges presented by COVID-19.
During our interview, Colin discussed the importance of maintaining a productive
schedule and how this practice has kept him engaged with his work. I couldn’t help but
make the connection to a concept Duhigg talks about in the Power of Habit called The
The Habit Loop in its simplest terms is as follows:
CUE – The trigger that automatically tells our brain which habit to use
Routine – The response our body & mind has to the Cue
Reward – The outcome telling your brain that the loop is worth remembering in
I noticed that Colin described a disruption of the Cue that triggers his daily work routine.
Colin described his Cue as walking into the physical office; with his Cue disrupted by
COVID-19, he has been able to keep a similar (work) Routine by changing his Cue from
walking into the physical office to maintaining a consistent schedule.
I found Colin’s use of habits impactful, in some ways, because it serves as the Reward
of my habit. I have a habit of going out of my way in an attempt to learn something new.
My Cue is curiosity, My Routine is research, and My Reward is when I get to see that
knowledge applied in the real world. Observing the lessons and connections from The
Power of Habit displayed productively in the business world provided me with a Reward,
signaling my brain to remember the habit.
During the interview, I also noticed Ember IT maintained consistent habits during the
shift in work conditions. The example that struck me the most was the “QuarenTeams”
meetings that happen at 9:30 every morning.
With many Americans transitioning to working at home, organizational communication
can be a big challenge to overcome while being away from the office. Ember IT has
been able to avoid that hurdle by scheduling daily meetings with the entire organization
to eliminate ambiguity. The “QuarenTeams” meetings take place every morning from
9:30-10:00 a.m. so that the whole company can communicate any questions or items of
Communication tactics resonate with me. I’ve had plenty of experiences with poor
communication, negatively impacting the work environment. Considering the current
circumstances, the fact that the company is taking extra time to remain on the same
page is meaningful to me.
Even though times are challenging right now, I think it is essential to try to control what
we can. My takeaways from this week are the importance of creating and maintaining
good habits in work and everyday life, and the importance of taking the extra time to
communicate not just in work but in your personal life as well