I am over halfway through my blog series on Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” which examines why some publicly traded companies are GOOD while others soar to GREAT. I have enjoyed over the last week challenging his positions as it relates to small business owners, those whom I represent in my . I hope you will read ALL of the parts in my blog series to get an overall understanding of the book and its concept—then go out and purchase it and read it for yourself!
Collins uses a fox versus hedgehog analogy to illustrate how patience and discipline play a part in building a great company. A fox may seem sly and clever and have all the right answers but its the hedgehodge that is methodical and persistent and strategic and wins the day.
Jim and I do agree on some things and one of them is that discipline within the culture of a business is vitally important to greatness and doesn’t involve a tyrant leader to create the right discipline.
Now, I don’t have any children. But what I hear is that some parents do not believe in spanking that child because it promotes violence and just doesn’t work. Instead, some parents prefer time outs or other forms of discipline for their child. My overall opinion, being the childless auntie that I am, is that parents know what work for THEIR children. For some children, spankings work (I mean…look at me. I turned out ok) and for others a simple “time out” will do. The same I think applies to companies and how they discipline their employees to greatness—leaders should know their culture and what will work and what won’t work. And I doubt VERY seriously that being an overbearing tyrant leader will EVER work to discipline your employees—instead it just causes fear, confusion, and anxiety and no one is self-motivated for creativity, innovation, and servicing the customer.
Two attributes lead to a disciplined business destined for greatness:
- Consistency- Predictability in the rules, consequences, rewards, attitudes, culture, etc. will help create a culture of routine
- Freedom- Let employees make mistakes and decide their own destiny within the company (within parameters of course). They will work harder and be more creative because they feel they have a vested stake.
One of the reasons that I like telecommuting for my employees is because of these 2 things; I am consistent in my parameters and approach to telecommuting parameters, for example when there are in person consultations, staff must be present. Additionally, tasks are given at the beginning of the week and as long as they are done by the deadline, the manner and time on which they are completed is up to the individual. It’s up to the individual to self-discipline themselves to make sure the task gets done. This makes for a stronger individual and employee I think. I focus on the ENDS and not the MEANS. For a Type A personality, that is ASTOUNDING. But it alleviates a lot of wasted time and stress.
Discussion Question: What is the role of discipline in leadership? What type of discipline do you use to create a disciplined business culture?
Attorney Dar’shun Kendrick is the owner of Kendrick Law Practice , a boutique business law firm in Decatur, GA focused on keeping growing Georgia business owners “IN business and OUT of Court” through a variety of customized business and legal services. She has an M.B.A. as well as serves in the Georgia House of Representatives.