Archive for November, 2014

Building a High Performance Culture Part XVI

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Words that Work: Discipline

In this sixteenth post on building a high performance culture I want to put in the “words that work” column a word that fuels the consistency that separates good performers and organizations from great ones; discipline.

I’ll expand on discipline momentarily, but to improve your perspective on this culture series, please review the following words that work from past posts:

  • These concepts must be consistently woven into your culture to strengthen it.
  • The words that hurt, and their ensuing mindsets, must be just as diligently weeded out of your culture.
  • These two categories are designed to build an evolving portrait of what a high performance culture looks like so you can evaluate your own, and strive towards the ideal.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something. 

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Discipline is defined as: an activity, regimen or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill. To help grasp the importance of disciplined people, working within a disciplined culture, consider the following points on discipline:
1. Discipline serves as fuel for consistency. It powers the development of healthy habits and routines instrumental for reducing the wide up and down swings of business performance.
2. A narrower focus on who and what matters most stimulates discipline. The marriage of narrowed focus and more discipline makes decision making easier; it helps you know what to say “yes” or “no” to so you can stay on track and do more of what matters most.
3. Discipline without direction is drudgery. Discipline simply for the sake of discipline, does not inspire. But when discipline is developed because it leads you towards a compelling purpose it can help make you unstoppable.
4. Discipline isn’t about doing a lot of things every day; it’s about executing the handful of daily activities most necessary to move towards your goals.
5. Disciplined people have more, not fewer, options as they progress through business and life. Discipline isn’t a jailer, it is a liberator.
6. Disciplined people, pulled forward by a compelling purpose, consistently do what is right day-in and day-out; not just when it’s easy, cheap, popular or convenient.
7. Discipline isn’t “punishment”, it’s a morale builder. You always feel better about yourself when you do what is right; what you’ve committed to do: whether it’s saying “no” to the cheesecake when dieting, or making the ten calls you said you’d make before leaving for home.

As a final thought on discipline, I’d like to suggest that the alternative to discipline is disaster. Evidence of this principle abounds in the lives of businesses and individuals who waste time and resources chasing silver bullets, quick fixes, and implementing successions of failed flavors of the month, while their disciplined counterparts steadily plod along to new performance levels.