The Power of Habit - Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Charles Duhigg

by

Nina Calhoun

Chapter 4
Summary

The first part of the chapter begins with a thorough explanation of the introduction of Paul O’Neill as the new manager of Alcoa Corporation. The stakeholders, and investors in the meeting were very anxious about the new president of the company, but soon after the speech by O’Neil they were very disappointed, and most of them thought it was a mistake investing in the corporation. In the opening speech, O’Neil affirms that his major concern will be centered around maintenance of a safe environment for the workers, something that the investors do not agree with, and perceive the selection of the president as a mistake (Duhigg, 2012). The second part incorporates enhancing habits by Michael Phelps. Phelps is a globally known swimmer who has broken numerous world records. The excerpt affirms that the athlete faced a lot of trouble in his pursuit to become the best swimmer. The author talks of his parent’s divorce, and the fear he had of racing. In addition, the race where he attained the world record was significant because he experienced a lot of setbacks when his goggles broke, and he was unable to see. The third section captures the past life of O’Neill when he worked for the government, and the major contributions he made to the government. The manager made use of the past knowledge, and experiences concerning worker safety to elevate the status of Alcoa. His analysis of the funds allocated for health was the core reason he opposed President Bush policy on taxation, and this is the reason he was asked to resign.

Analysis

From the analysis of the concepts, O’Neil believes in the aspect of prioritizing and assessing the welfare of the workers which will eventually work to benefit the status of the corporation. In his leadership habit, he aims to make the employees become positive about their activities, and the dedication to the work they undertake in the corporation. From the assessment of Phelps’s situation, there are different setbacks which may be encountered on the road to success. This means that an individual needs to have a dedicated mind, and needs to keep pushing. Irrespective of the deviation, one has to take charge of the situation, and maintain an aspect of calmness which ensures that one is able to overcome the situation eventually. The third section provides the reader with the notion that prevention is better than cure. This means that O’Neill believed that setting in place concrete safety procedures, and programs would be beneficial rather than waiting for the accidents to happen, and later allocate funds.

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