Willpower, Klartboard and operations management

– How boards and operational management support willpower (freely after Roy Baumeister and John Tierney)

By Lotte Lyng, Klart

In order to achieve something – both at work and in private – we must be able to persevere and get the job done. It requires willpower. In a meta-study of willpower, Baumeister and Tierney have gathered a number of research findings on how we best bring our willpower into play to achieve our goals.

A central conclusion is that fixed frameworks and good habits are important because they "save" us, so to speak, from consuming our willpower. Then we have for the whole day and for the difficult tasks.

Boards and operations management can create such a fixed framework for task solving, because they help to maintain goals, plan work, follow up and support team collaboration. The framework – boards and operational management – fundamentally supports our ability to work persistently and efficiently, and thus we strengthen delivery on the core task. Interesting isn't it?!

What exactly is it that works according to the research and why?

We must set goals and plan

  • Few and clear goals reduce noise and inefficiency
  • Planning the work – in the short and medium term – significantly increases goal achievement
  • Visual overview of upcoming tasks and next steps saves mental energy – the brain uses a lot of energy to maintain tasks that are not planned for
  • Tight but realistic schedules prevent time from crumbling away
  • Difficult tasks/decisions must be carried out early in the day – willpower is most intact here

We must follow up continuously

  • Ongoing follow-up on tasks and goals strengthens our delivery – people are self-aware and therefore react to the group's 'shame and recognition'
  • Persistence and consistency in follow-up changes behavior effectively

We must reward often

  • Rewarding goal achievement motivates – it is, among other things, what keeps us in video games

We must support well-functioning teams

  • Social communities increase the willpower to achieve shared goals

We need to clean up!

  • An orderly and tidy environment for work means that we make more effort

Boards and operational management are an effective framework for maintaining focus and getting tasks done – even the difficult ones. If we also add a meaningful dialogue at the board meeting, we are well on our way to ensuring good well-being and "doing the right thing right"!

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