This Leadership Trait is a Non-Negotiable for Success | Discipline

Discipline is a non-negotiable trait for success | Leadership Dynamics

Every successful person does what unsuccessful people won’t do – they do whatever it takes, as opposed to what they feel like doing, as their desire to succeed is burning within them and it continually drives them to push harder and to go further.

What is driving you?

One common denominator successful people have is their level of commitment and personal discipline to do whatever it takes.

What do you need to be more personally disciplined about?

Leadership is a responsibility.  To lead people requires the leaders ability to duplicate disciplined behaviours within the team they lead by leading by example.

What are you modelling right now as the Leader?

A leaders personal discipline and drive comes from knowing what they want.  The leaders vision provides the energy and focus to do what other people won’t do.

What are you doing right now that you know other people aren’t doing?

What is your vision?

If you want to succeed and achieve your vision, the key is very simple: get disciplined about success.  When discipline to achieve “above average” plays out in your day to day, it means you will have many “average days”, over and over and over again.  This is what discipline is – doing what’s necessary (often not what you like) day in, day out until you succeed.  Then you keep on repeating those behaviours to sustain your success and to ensure growth.

I recently agreed to the Commercial Agreement with one of Australia’s top golfing trainees Taylor Cooper who is about to become a full time professional golfer competing on the Australia PGA Tour and in 2016 the goal is Asia and the United States.  For Taylor to go to the next level in his golf he has to have the discipline and drive to develop those behaviours and habits on a daily basis that will prepare him for the biggest moment of his golfing career, which one day he will face head on.

It’s not just about talent; it’s about the desire to be disciplined in your behaviours that creates success.

If there was one behaviour you need to be more disciplined about right now so that you are leading and not managing, what would it be?

Having clearly defined plans and the discipline to follow them is non-negotiable for champions. So is the commitment to follow through on these plans when the going gets tough.  That’s why putting your plans in writing can be so strategic. I believe once you have ‘published’ something – on paper or verbally – you have made yourself accountable.

Who are you accountable to?

Who leads you?

When Taylor Coopers father, Jamie Cooper, reached out to me he understood the power of having someone independent lead his son, who is not of the golfing world.   The personal discipline required to succeed will not grow to where it needs to be by leading yourself.  Over the last 3 months there has been a dramatic change in Taylors behaviours by being accountable to someone independent.  His thinking has changed when it comes to what he needs to do to achieve his dreams on the professional golfing tour.

It is very early days for Taylor for the journey we are embarking on together but without the hunger to want to grow and change oneself by having the personal discipline and commitment to change ones behaviours on a daily basis, the level of success one wants will not be achieved.

What behaviours do you need to change to lead in your life and to lead your team more effectively?

Discipline leads to clear thinking and enhances execution of the vision.  You have time to think, plan and clarify progress.  The vast gulf between well-disciplined and ill-disciplined people is not measured in dollars but mess.  Disciplined people do not mire themselves under a mountain of paperwork and they rarely find themselves looking for documents they urgently need under a growing weight of yet-to-be-dealt with communication.  Instead, they get organised.

What do you need to be more organised about?

Disciplined people are as near to being on top of just about everything they can be.  This is because they let their well-designed plans (not their emotions) dictate the activities they undertake.

What do you need to get on top of?  

Every year I write a personal and business plan. I take my vision and break it down into annual targets – precise goals that I need to achieve.  Then, whenever I fly somewhere, I take the plan along as reading material.  In this way I try to get the plan into my head so it will control all my actions for the coming year.  I also used to send a copy to my mentor, before he passed, for his review and feedback.  This was a critical part of its success.

I believe you need an updated plan for your life every year – a plan that details your personal goals, as well as those for your business and your family.  Planning takes discipline, it takes effort, it takes sitting down and thinking.  Success doesn’t happen – it takes hard work.

Do you have a written plan for the year?  

If so, have you shown it to anyone?

In 1991, General Norman Schwarzkopf was appointed Commander in Chief of the American Forces during the Gulf War.  Every night, subsequent to that, he would lay a copy of the Bible – open to the book of Joshua – on his bedside table.  He disciplined himself to read the Old Testament book cover to cover and to think about it until he had developed a battle plan – a strategy that would win the war against Iraq and save as many lives as possible.  That’s planning – it takes discipline and hardheaded grunt.

Once I have a plan (including my specific goals for that year), I ask myself the question, “How will I achieve my plan?” The answer to that question gives me my yearly strategy.  My strategy (macro) then needs to be broken down into specific tactics (micro). For example, Winston Churchill’s strategy in World War II was to fight off the German Air Force, get the Americans to enter the war and re-take Europe.  In specific tactics, he made sure the British Air Force was as ready as it could be, he kept up the morale of the British people and he built air-raid shelters.  These were specific tactics applied within a larger strategy.

In writing my annual plan, I am committing myself to accountability.  Once I have put myself out on a limb and said I will do or achieve certain things, the significant others in my life – my wife, family, friends and business colleagues – can hold me accountable.  Accountability increases my motivation and ultimately my power to accomplish my vision, thus making my plan more than wishful thinking.

“Congratulations, you’ve arrived – but it’s going to take you 20 years to build anything great!!”  (Feedback from my mentor after my wife and I reached our first major business milestone.)  

Your vision is a marathon.  It may take many years to achieve. You must plan for success.  Discipline, year in, year out, will be the key to making the vision a reality.

Do you have the discipline to focus on the behaviours that achieve results, day in, day out, year in, year out? 

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