How much of what we do on a day to day basis can be attributed to habit?

Recently I’ve  been attempting to be more aware of what I’m doing at any point in time and what I’ve come to realise is simply this; I spend lots of time appeasing lots of little habits. Why, you may ask am I posting this in a blog about coffee and business? The answer is simple, how effective can you be if you are continually unaware of the habitual processes which constitute your business? What assumptions do y0u make and why? What kind of things do you aim for without realising it? Essentially, what kind of coffee business are you, and what kind do you want to be?

I guess a simple example of the habits and assumptions I have at work (I’m fairly sure I’ve kept where I work out of this blog, and I’ll continue to do so here) is a standard of quality. Recently we (the owners and I) implemented a directive designed to benchmark the quality of espresso served throughout the day. We decided to ensure that every espresso pour served whether in a milk based drink or black coffee drink, would be a coffee we actively would want to drink. Now there are a few things I should say at this point.

– We regularly bin espresso

– We are very picky about the coffee we do drink

– We try to drink as much coffee as possible to stay in touch with exactly how good the coffee can be

Our drink quality went THROUGH THE ROOF in a way I hadn’t expected, we discovered new highs and ways of maintaining them and excitingly customers noticed, WIN.

In hindsight, prior to this idea we had made an assumption about serving a thing called “high quality” coffee. Whilst in relation to many other coffee places around town this would still have been accurate, it created an area for interpretation that was based on unclear and unspecified values. This fact alone had potential to blind us, to remove the ever niggling pressure to out-perform ourselves and break trough.

Assumptions are related to perspective, and whilst entirely unavoidable, our subjective perception of what we called “high quality” prevented us from  recognising the potential we had to pour better drinks. This allowed us to see our processes and standards with an increased resolution, the ability to make ever finer adjustments to what we do.

My suggestion is that recognising the assumptions we make in all aspects of our coffee, our business, our management, our service and our thinking, is the single most empowering and mind blowing process we can embark on. Continually criticising and analysing our processes is THE mechanism to break through. Ultimately if progress, or communication are issues, if nothing being done is working, look to the assumptions. No matter how obvious they may seem, no matter how correct, our assumptions are key to seeing new and exciting avenues of exploration.




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