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Strategic Discipline Blog

Mental Discipline

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Thu, Dec 23, 2010

It’s half-time in a girl’s freshman basketball game.  The score 31-9.  My officiating partner and I discuss how difficult our job can become in a lopsided game.  We need to keep our heads in the game despite the score.  The team that’s leading is the first to score in the second half.  They score again, and again, still again.  By the time the third quarter is over they are the only team that’s scored and it’s now 48-9. 

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Officials in sports sometimes get a bad rap, however there’s no more important time to remain vigilant to the codes and standards of proper officiating then in a situation where the score is out of hand.  It’s no time for shortcuts.  When one team is dominant over another it can be easy to relax and lose focus.  This is when experience, practice, and mental discipline need to take over.  Concentration, remembering proper mechanics, and recognizing the reasons why you got into officiating in the first place is critical to provide the best supervision despite what the participants and fans might call a “laugher.”

Why do I mention this in a blog about business and strategic discipline?

Last blog [Source of Stress] we discussed the value of routine and the importance of making things automatic through discipline.  When business is good often times it’s when things get sloppy or loose.  Routine and good habits need more attention. 

Habits are difficult to establish, yet we know that when we are able to firmly practice them we build endurance naturally and improve our ability to maintain high performance levels.  There are tricks to concentrating better, just as there are with exercise and restraint.  The reason we urge our clients to create meeting rhythms is to help maintain this practice of routine. 

Take the example of flossing or brushing your teeth.  Missing one day will probably not ruin your teeth or gums.  Yet repeatedly neglecting them can do serious damage over time.  It’s the principle described in Strategic Learning and what Einstein called the most powerful force in the universe:  compounding.

Good times or bad, the value of meeting rhythms compound over time.   The routine of these meetings may seem monotonous, yet with the right leadership and enthusiasm for priorities they lead to conflict and resolution.  They provide a rhythmic ebb and flow that generates momentum.  “Those who say that business success is all about execution are wrong.  Bad choices trump good execution every time.”  [McKinsey Quarterly, August 2006]*quote from Strategic Learning by Willie Pietersen

The best business practices are often counter intuitive.  Meeting rhythms, priorities, metrics and the mental discipline it requires to maintain these help you stay alert and vigilant to the choices that demand your attention to execute correctly. 

Today I’d like to recommend a book that will help you develop discipline in your personal and business life.  If you need help getting the proper mental discipline in your life I recommend you pick up The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.  It’s an excellent book that we’ll teach you how to manage your life much better and why managing energy is the new currency to increase performance rather than time management. 

Thanks for reading my blogs and your business.  Happy Holidays from Positioning Systems.  

Topics: Discipline, meeting rhythms, Compounding, The Power of Full Engagement

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1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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