Here is a link to my free Leadership Idea Center: http://www.thecoughlincompany.com/e-learning.php. The topics are leadership & teamwork, strategy & execution, and innovation & branding. There are dozens of articles, audio recordings, and video messages. If you find practical value in the ideas, feel free to share the link with others. Take care and have a great day.
Strategy is probably the most confusing word in the business vocabulary, primarily because if you ask ten people what it means you will get ten different answers. I think of it as establishing a direction for an organization to move in. Also, we can’t determine if we are being effective in our execution unless we understand the direction we want to be heading in. Having said that, here are eleven excellent books on strategy and execution.
Understanding Michael Porter by Joan Magretta
Elevate and Deep Dive by Rich Horwath
Management by Peter Drucker
Good to Great and Beyond Entrepreneurship by Jim Collins
Blue Ocean Strategy by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema
Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove
Profit from the Core by Chris Zook
Top Management Strategy by Ben Tregoe and John Zimmerman
Self-discipline is the ability to continually take responsibility and maintain your integrity through your choices in a sustained way over the long term.
An athlete or a musician demonstrates self-discipline by practicing for thousands of hours even after he or she has already mastered a certain skill. A person demonstrates self-discipline in his or her life by doing what he or she thinks is the right thing to and by taking responsibilities seriously in his or her various roles in life over and over and over again. To do the right thing a few times will help your sense of self-worth a bit, but to make what you consider to be the right choices thousands of times in your lifetime will help strengthen your sense of self-worth exponentially.
Look at your roles. Now look at your responsibilities in each role. Do this at work and do it at home and do it in your community. You have roles in life and therefore you have responsibilities. When you choose to fulfill your responsibilities, you strengthen your sense of self-worth. When you avoid fulfilling your responsibilities, you weaken your sense of self-worth.
Many organizations I’ve seen approach strategic planning like they want to play every card in a deck. They search for good ideas on how to improve results and they come up with a lot of them. Let’s say there are 52 ideas. Then as they plan out those 52 ideas they plan to do a different 4-5 of them each month with the objective to be implementing all 52 ideas by the end of the year.
Here’s how I suggest you approach strategic planning. You generate 52 ideas. Then you search through those 52 ideas for the four Aces, the four very best ideas on improving results. Then you spend the first quarter implementing the first Ace as well as you can. Then in the second quarter you implement the second Ace as well as you can, and so on. I think you will generate much better results by coming up with a lot of ideas, but then only selecting the four best ideas that will really drive better results and implementing them as well as you can.
Four Aces beats almost every combination of 52 cards thrown on the table.
The I’ll-get-the-results-no-matter-what-it-takes Approach is used by the person who tosses out ethics on the road to hitting a number.
Bernard Madoff, Ken Lay, and Bernie Ebbers. The names have almost slipped away from people’s memories, yet these individuals cheated big time and robbed their companies and society of tens of millions of dollars. If you can’t operate with integrity, you cannot be a great business leader. It really is that simple and straightforward.
Two Questions to Avoid The I’ll-get-the-results-no-matter-what-it-takes Approach
1. Are you getting the business results in a way that you would be willing to explain to anyone in your business or at home?
2. If you’re not comfortable with the way in which you get business results, what alternative approach can you use that will allow you to sleep at night?
The Superhero is the person who keeps working longer hours in an attempt to continually improve results.
This person thinks if his or her predecessor got pretty good results working 40 hours a week than he or she will produce amazing results by working 80 hours a week. At first people admire this person’s superhuman effort and the results do improve for awhile. The problem sets in when this person thinks that just putting in longer hours is the key to success. It’s not the number of hours that produces better results, but the number of quality hours. The other problem occurs when this person thinks he or she is a superhero who will never tire out. Eventually burnout sets in and this person becomes very ineffective.
Two Questions to Avoid The Superhero Disastrous Leadership Approach
1. How many hours of work, including travel, did you put in last month?
2. How many of those hours do you think were of real quality toward improving your desired business outcomes?