“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment”

Jim Rohn

Without discipline the best you can expect is unfocused effort …at its worst…you have complete chaos.

When it comes to business performance, the word discipline is barely understood, largely rejected and yet, it is almost always the foundation of success.

Often, when we mention the phrase execution discipline in meetings or seminars, people start to move in their seats, showing their discomfort with the term. Our social freedoms have become so sacred that any thought of control seems inherently unacceptable. The automatic perception is either one of punishment or restriction. So it becomes important to define discipline in a very specific way and use it accordingly.

Picture for a moment the last time you saw a brilliant individual play or performance. It might be a football player who with unbelievable speed, strength and agility effortlessly evades the defense to score…or a basketball player soaring over the opposition to intercept a pass then in the same motion passing the ball to a team mate while still airborne… or the lead violinist in an orchestra playing a perfectly crafted solo.

The individual brilliance is astonishing, BUT in each case that brilliance is based on team discipline. In fact it is the discipline that creates the opportunity for brilliance to surface. The football and basketball team’s defensive and offensive discipline puts each player in a position to use their individual brilliance. The orchestra provides the concrete platform of precise notes that allows the soloist to shine.

Rather than restricting freedom and individual ability, discipline used correctly, provides the very platform from which individual talent can flourish. When we talk about building an execution discipline this is the type of discipline we mean, one that provides a platform from which individuals can operate in their area of strength.

Discipline: the correct order of behaviour…repeated

Discipline is about behaviour. Providing clear guidelines for individual and team behaviour provides a platform for strength, pride and ultimately success. The question is how do you achieve that degree of discipline necessary to be successful?

Consider These Points

The more a team takes ownership of “the discipline” the greater the chances of success. Peer pressure to maintain discipline is greater, more meaningful and lasting than any one individual can create. Here are three key points for the establishment of Team Discipline.

1. Have the fewest rules possible. Too many rules:

• Are difficult to maintain.
• Reduce the freedom of individuals and the team to reach their potential.
• Create confusion, the complete opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

2. Focus on Behaviour. Discipline is about developing a correct order of behaviour and replicating this consistently:

• Focus on behaviours critical to the team’s success!

• Involve the Team. Where possible engage the team in developing or improving the discipline.

• Black and White. Remove any doubt on what is acceptable, what is not acceptable and what the consequences are.

3. Leaders Responsibility.

Everyone on the team takes responsibility. Peer pressure will always be the most effective means of supporting discipline, BUT it is the Leader who is ultimately accountable for maintaining Discipline.

Mark Bragg and Martin West