Discipline is the Opposite of Chaos

By Paul Starkey
Published on: February 13, 2017

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Who should read this:  All business owners and management

Why you should read this: To avoid chaos

As business owners, we encounter many of the same “get things done” challenges you encounter; too much to do, not enough time, important projects that must be put aside for daily urgencies, etc.

These challenges are universal to businesses large and small.  My daughter works for a big company that addresses these challenges by hiring more employees. Many small companies don’t have that luxury – and adding bodies doesn’t always improve efficiencies, in any event.

When we talk with our clients about this issue, one word comes up more than any other . . . DISCIPLINE.

Discipline is the opposite of chaos. It happens when people clearly understand who’s supposed to do what, when.  But understanding “who-what-when” is not enough. Discipline is the rhythmic, daily execution of “who-what-when”.  An assembly-line approach where everyone buys in to the importance of their doing their part, so the next person can do his/her part.

James Collins, in his best-selling book Good to Great, espoused the importance of discipline in the highly successful companies the book studies:

 “A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.”

Organizations require discipline to grow and prosper.  Whether a company is one person or many, it should strive to make habits of practices that enhance productivity.  A rhythmic, weekly routine is a discipline for enabling and maintaining productive practices.

A weekly production meeting is one of the habits we have seen make a huge difference in the efficiencies of the install team.  Regular invoicing of goods and hours provided to projects is another key discipline.  Neither of these sounds like a big deal, but developing the habits that put the routine in place is a very big deal. And we’re told by owners, all the time, “We don’t have time to . . . have a weekly meeting”. Or, ” . . . do invoicing every day.”

Which brings up another relevant quote, this time from Verne Harnish in his best-seller, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits . . .

“Regimen will set you free.”

The fact is, companies don’t have enough time because there is not enough regimen or discipline in their daily/weekly/monthly habits.  They are too busy trying to outrun chaos. The only way out is counter-intuitive:

1)    Stop

2)    Determine your priorities

3)    Create a plan for the most important thing or two you need to get done

4)    Hold yourself and those working them accountable

One of those things might be setting up a weekly schedule for recurring tasks.  In fact, scheduling when you will work on what, for how long, might be one of the most important disciplines you can master.

Find what you want most and prioritize it.

Paul Starkey

Paul Starkey

Paul Starkey is a 23 year CI industry veteran who led control manufacturer ELAN from infancy to a 150 person company. He is a visionary, keen on innovation, pioneer of on-line training, and numerous product innovations. He is co-founder of Vital Management and Executive Director of BRAVAS Group.

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