It is a nice idea to think that there are tips or hacks that will make our lives better. A silver bullet that those in the know are aware of and that we have finally been granted access to.

But try this simple test: type ’10 tips’ into Google and see how many pages are returned. At the time of writing, the number is 768 million. And if you try ‘2 tips’ the number approaches one billion.

A billion pages

A billion pages of advice, hacks and tips! Even if we narrow it to ‘leadership development tips’, there are still over 5 million pages to search through. Common sense tells us that they can’t all be right. And a bit more thinking suggests that if development were as simple as finding the right tips, human kind would have developed into a far more advanced state than we’ve managed so far.

Habits not tips

If development is about more than tips and hacks, what is it about? With my colleagues we have worked for many years helping people change, grow and develop and our conclusion is that at core development is about habits: creating new habits, changing existing habits, and even throwing off old ones. And by ‘habit’ we are referring not just to patterns of acting and behaviour, but also to patterns of thought and to patterns of feeling and emotion.

So if you are interested in your own development, focus on your habits: spotting them, changing them, creating them.