A leader is a dealer in discipline. In their wonderful book, “Great by Choice”, Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen introduce us to the idea of the “20 mile march”, which is the notion that if two people have to make a 3 000 mile walk, and Person 1 marches 20 miles every single day – come rain or come shine – he will ultimately reach his destination. However, if Person 2 starts with a 40 mile burst on day 1, and is too tired to get out of bed on day 2, and is deterred by bad weather, and only goes out when the weather is good, he sets up a pattern of good days and bad days, and will inevitably reach the destination well after Person 1, if he gets there at all. The leader needs to be a living, breathing example of discipline every single day, no matter how hard things get. He also needs to hold the team to the same standards of discipline every single day. Dealers in discipline know that if we all keep doing the things that we know result in success (even if it doesn’t look that way today), we will indeed succeed.
What should you do every single day that represents your own 20 mile march? Do you do it? Every day? Do you people see you exercising this relentless self-discipline. If they don’t, how will you influence them to take their own daily march.
What is the 20 mile march each of your team members needs to take every day? Do they take it? Do they account to you and the team for their personal 20 mile march? How will you build this discipline and accountability into how you track their work? How will you measure the 20 mile march – because is you don’t measure it you won’t be able to manage it.
In the third article in this series, we will explore influence and relationships. Let me know how the practical tips are impacting your leadership abilities.