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The Most Important Element for Business Success

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Thu, Sep 5, 2013

Jim Collins in Good to Great indicates building a business from good to great requires “First Who Then What!” He notes that achieving success requires the “Right People Doing the Right Things Right.”

To me the most important element to business success can be defined in one word – Discipline.  As Collins notes in Good to Great,

“A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.”  And….good to great infographic culture of discipline resized 600

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline”

Let’s look at each element of Jim Collins success formula for how discipline is required:

Right People: If you agree with Collins that no matter the industry, nor the product or service you select the most important decisions are first your people, then you must have a method or system for acquiring the right people.  As Gazelles coaches we recommend to our coaching clients TopgradingTopgrading requires a high degree of discipline to carry out.  To meet the 90% hiring of “A” players you need to follow the guidelines consistently and be patient with the process.  Not every business is willing to do this.  A three and a half hour interview with the top three candidates, the development of a Job Summary Scorecard are all pieces that some businesses are unwilling to follow.   Hiring Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline”  Most business are resistant to follow this type of discipline.  Eventually they face the consequences in the results they attain in the hiring process.

Doing the Right Things: This is the discipline of choosing the correct priorities.  This is a critical element in the three Disciplines and Strategic Discipline.  Each quarter, and year the business should determine what the top 3-5 priorities are and what the One Thing is for each quarter and year.  Again many businesses fail to do this type of planning.  Furthermore if they do they often don’t decide on the One Thing focus.  Nor develop the required dashboards (metrics) and meeting rhythms (Cadence of Accountability) to ensure everyone is focused on the Right Things.  Greatness evades these businesses. 

Things Right: This is the fourth element of Strategic Discipline.  Determining your Work Process Flowcharts elevates your focus to the systems that provide your competitive edge.  These proprietary systems need to function consistently at a high level for you to maintain your superiority.   Dashboards or Key Strategic Indicators (KPI’s) should be in place to consistently measure performance.  The same should be the case with what your people are focused on.  Each position should have a set of leading and lagging indicators which define the expectations and measurements they are required to achieve.  Doing things right is a disciplined approach to operating your business.  Aubrey Daniels notes that a company is always perfectly designed to produce what it is producing.   The behaviors associated with undesirable outcomes are being reinforced.  It requires discipline to identify, monitor, modify or create new reinforcers and systems to produce desirable outcomes.

This is not new stuff.  It’s exactly what Jim Collins emphasizes in every book he’s done researching great companies and those companies that fail. 

A business coach is not immune to discipline.  A good coaching relationship requires accountability and asking the right questions.  describe the imageDo you have the necessary discipline in your business?  Do you have the right people and are they doing the right things right?   

To learn more about how Positioning Systems and the Rockefeller Habits can help provide the discipline your business needs register today for Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Four Decision Workshop.

We’ve discussed making decisions several times in this blog.  Contributing to an article for the LaManna Alliance, Rock LaManna reminded me of the best advice I ever received on how to make good decisions.  I faced a very agonizing emotional decision.  Without it I may have made the wrong decision.  That’s next blog.  

Topics: Discipline, Good to Great, Business Growth, Strategic Discipline, Business Priorities, Business Dashboards, Jim Collins, Businesss Disciplines

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Positioning Systems Brand Promise

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. 

(BRAND PROMISE GUARANTEE): We will refund all compensation if our disciplined coaching and proprietary tools fail to meet your expectations.

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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