The Power of Discipline

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By Scott A. Heintzelman

The Power of Discipline (forgoing short-term disruption and discomfort for long-term rewards)

DisciplineWhy is it that people often do not reach goals they set (like losing weight, exercising...) and organizations fail to implement great ideas or strategy?   The answer is very simple - they lack discipline. Most people know what needs to be done. The primary reason we do not work at the behaviors which we need to improve is that the rewards are in the future while the disruption and discomfort needed to get there are immediate.

Think about someone trying to lose weight - say someone like me. Two years ago I was 39 and thinking, "I need to get in better shape if I hope to walk my daughters down the aisle."

So I set a goal to be in better shape at the age of 40 than I was at the age of 30. No small task as I used to be fit (I once played college basketball), but like most people I just let that part of life slide. So I had a goal as many organizations do, people do...  Now what?  I needed some action steps, accountability and some measurement tools. So I did a few things. First I got in a weight loss competition with another partner (I love competition) and we weighed in each week and published the results - Wow that will motivate you to action. I also hired a personal trainer to help coach me on my journey. She gave me action steps (cardio, lifting, ab work... you get the picture - lot's of pain). I also starting charting everything I ate. Well two years later the results have been amazing. I have lost 50 pounds and continue to improve my heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol...  When speaking with people who have not seen me in a while - they call it a transformation.

I see many parallels to business in my story of transformation. Nothing I did was rocket science. No great strategy. The hard part was getting to the gym each morning at 5:30. Once that became a habit the accountability, competition and eventually the results made this continue. Many organizations have great summer strategy sessions and they have wonderful ideas, but they fail to have the accountability, coaching and lack measurement tools to succeed.

I hope to help these organizations see they can do this. They can implement the strategic goals they set - they just need discipline!

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