Serve People First

How to Manage a Team: Habitus

June 16, 2014 by Mark Kilens

The third component of a Management System is named Habitus. Habitus exists to serve people. It's a tool built for a team, specifically the team's members and the team's genuine leader. It helps people define and track their work habits, goals, milestones, projects and personal goals. 

Do you control your calendar or does your calendar control you? Think about that.

Let's take this thought one step further. When looking at your calendar do you know what things you do on a weekly basis in less than five seconds? You're probably thinking, "no way!"  You most likely need to look at multiple weeks to understand that information.

The question then becomes how do you use your calendar? Furthermore, how do you decide what to do or when to do something?

Habitus helps you take control of your calendar. It will help you understand your weekly work habits, and most importantly, it will help you manage your time.  It will tell you how your time will be spent and how it was spent.

Habitus is not a micro-management, big-brother tool. It's the complete opposite. It's a tool that a genuine leader should use to provide his team members with immediate feedback throughout the week or during their one-on-one meetings.

Team members could use Habitus to build their calendar for the next week, plan their time, or understand how much work is on their plate for the upcoming week. The tool will help people understand how much time they have available to execute goals, milestones or to achieve an overall project purpose.  Habitus will help you locate possible time inefficiencies and understand how long specific job functions take to perform.

Time management and project execution go hand-in-hand. In order to execute with excellence you really need to understand how much time you have available to complete a goal, milestone or project.

People crave feedback.

Habitus is an excellent tool to help a genuine leader provide continuous, immediate feedback to each team member they are leading.

A leader can use Habitus for planning purposes, to track accountability or to document job functions. Most importantly the tool will help a team build and sustain momentum.

The Leadership and Management Systems have many goals, one very important goal is momentum. Momentum is Purpose + Passion + Results. The two systems will help keep a team's momentum very high.

High-performing teams have and sustain momentum.

Habitus has five components: 1) Work habits 2) Projects 3) Milestones 4) Goals 5) Personal Goals.

Let's dive into each component.

Work Habits

Definition: A weekly job function that is not directly related to a project, milestone or goal.

Work habits are something a team member performs on a weekly basis. Take a moment right now. Close your eyes and try to write down all the things you do for 30 minutes or more on a weekly basis.

Can you do it? Do you need to look at your calendar?

Habitus can tell you that in a matter of seconds.

Habitus does not tell a team member why they should be doing their work, how they should be executing, where they should be working, or when they should be working.

What a team member should be doing is dependent on their documented job junctions and by creating projects that align with the team's autonomous spark, themes.

Work habits are meant to be updated once per week. Work habits, ideally are updated on either Friday afternoon or Monday morning. Work habits and the number of hours per work habit should not be updated throughout the week.

Usually discrete activities such as one-off meetings, company-wide collaboration, putting out fires, etc. are not tracked as work habits.

Here's an example of some work habits with hours.



Definition: A planned piece of work that has a defined purpose with a defined beginning and end and one or more milestones. Projects have milestones and goals, which we'll discuss in a moment.

Team members should use Habitus to continually update a project’s milestones and goals.  Updates should be made daily, if not multiple times a day.

It's very important that each team member keeps other team members up-to-date on the status of certain projects. Habitus acts as a personal and team communication, planning and documentation tool.

A genuine leader can use Habitus to gauge if team members are hitting deadlines, meeting or exceeding expectations, and the overall project's progress.

Each project should have a purpose. A project's purpose and time frame is set by the project’s leader, the DRI.

The following is a project and its purpose:

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Definition: An important part in the process or development of a project. A very important project event.

The DRI is responsible for setting the milestone and is held accountable to its results.

Milestones should have at least one or more goals defined.

Here's an example of a milestone:

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Definition: A step necessary to complete a milestone and project.

The individual executing the goal is responsible for setting the goal and is held accountable to its results.

Here's an example of a goal: 

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SMART Criteria

The project's purpose, all milestones and all goals should follow the SMART criteria:

  • Specific - Identifies and addresses one individual opportunity

  • Measurable - Must be kept up-to-date daily

  • Attainable - Time and resources allocated

  • Relevant - Aligns with the team’s themes

  • Timely - An end date has been set

Personal Goals

Personal goals are what help a genuine leader serve people first.

Every person has a set of personal goals. A genuine leader must strive to understand his team members' personal goals.  A genuine leader should work very hard to get each team member to communicate, define and track their personal goals.

The most important thing a genuine leader should do is use personal goals as one of their leadership and management tools.

First a leader should meet with each team member on regular basis and discuss each team members' personal goals. The leader should then go and reflect how they could assign or suggest certain work habits or projects that team member should start, stop or continue.

A leader should also suggest things the person can do at work or in other environments to aide in the development and growth of the team member's personal goals. A genuine leader exists to serve his team and should carefully watch team member growth, happiness and stability.

Personal goals are a great barometer.

Depending on the personal goal, a leader could suggest the following: Attending an upcoming industry conference, taking an online class, leaving work early one day a week so the team member can accomplish a personal goal, etc.

Personal goals will help a leader prioritize and assign work habits and projects to the right team members. Personal goals will help the team member understand what they should be focused on executing and learning today and in the future.

Personal goals should be defined and tracked using Habitus. They are here to serve both the team member and the leader. By understanding the personal goals of each person and aligning their work with those goals as much as possible, a genuine leader will have a very happy, high-performing team.

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