What you want to do and what you actually do are two very different things. The intent of change is not the same as change. This concept is not one that many companies understand fully and as a result, many companies fail. Without follow through, it’s easy to waste a lot of time, money, and resources on the idea of making a difference.
If you have experienced the same and wonder what’s lacking in your organization, it’s discipline. Consider scenarios in your current role. Is your day filled with putting out fires? Do you follow after action reports or are you in a hurry to get to the next project? Do your teams collaborate and march toward common company goals or is everyone running by their own agendas doing what they think is best?
Sometimes in the chaos of company operations, it’s difficult to take a moment to really reflect on what the current state of your company is. Taking this time, whether it’s an hour, a day, or multiple days, will make a huge difference for your company. It will pave the way for its future success or conversely, its future demise. Get focused.
Focus Starts with Discipline
Discipline often gets a bad rap because of its connotation with punishment. Discipline is not a barrier; it’s what keeps progress on track. Think about the discipline of athletes as an example. If they didn’t practice plays with their team and focus their efforts on areas where they need improvement, they never set themselves up for a win. It’s the same with the leaders of a company. If you don’t acknowledge and actively work together on the areas that require help, it’s detrimental to everyone involved.
Discipline begins with making good habits. In companies, you’ll often see what’s considered the “small stuff” escalate into bigger problems. People who miss deadlines, show up late to work, or are constantly in negative moods all seem like smaller priorities in the moment. However, these behaviors are what slowly chip away at a company culture and break it down. Without disciplined behavior that aligns with the vision, change can’t happen and goals won’t be met.
Think about the people you want leading your team. Is it those who are disciplined to the agreed upon goals or those who take it upon themselves to do what they think is right? Rebuilding a team requires far different effort than recruiting the best to begin with. Where do you want to put in the work?
Follow-Through or Forget About It
Once you have disciplined, focused players in place, the follow-through is inevitable. There are three types of organizational discipline: self-discipline, task discipline, and group discipline. Identify which area your team could use the most improvement. You may have a team in place who agrees upon the goals, but does that same team understand what it takes to achieve them? You must have a team who is capable of follow-through.
These types of discipline are fundamentally important to any organization, specifically to provide a sense of security, help with performance, increase productivity and employee engagement, and promote good behavior reflective of the culture you want. Improving discipline comes down to two simple categories: rewards for behaviors that align with the company vision and goals and removal of individuals who lack discipline. Change is a verb. It is not present when there is no focus or follow-through. It is not achievable without discipline.