About ten years ago, while auditing a team building program led by a Navy Seal, I came across a handy definition for leadership. Leadership is accomplishing a task to a standard with consequences. As a coach I employed this ditty quite often, particularly when developing athletes into team leaders. “Managers accomplish tasks,” I would tell them, “leaders have a standard and hold themselves and their people accountable to it.” It was a paradigm that worked well.
At Built to Lead we believe that at a minimum we are all on the hook to lead ourselves. The problem is that most people are managing rather than leading themselves through life. So, we took the three areas we believe are most critical for becoming built to lead—reflecting, reading/writing, and acting—and we attached a daily standard to them. These standards are 20’ of reflection/meditation/prayer, 40’ of reading/writing, and 60’ of physical activity. According to Chet a few of our clients embrace this standard; most don’t.
My discipline in these three areas was far below this standard when I started my Built to Lead journey. Over the past two-plus years, my consistency in these areas has greatly improved. 20-40-60 was once aspirational and now has become more like 20-90-75.
What has been my consequence when I fail to meet my standard? Owning the gap and closing it, or simply starting a new streak of successful days when an old one has come to an end.
What’s my belief behind this discipline? If you want to improve performance, you must raise your standards. Why do most people avoid this simple truth? Because, as I was reminded this week when raising my bar by joining Chet’s 3P Palace craziness, raising standards is often acutely painful. And, I remind myself, a new level of performance is lying on the other side of this acute pain.
What are the standards that are leading you through life? What’s your bar for reflection, reading/writing, and physical activity? Where do you want to see an improvement in your performance, and what standard would you need to raise to achieve it? Reflect, write, act(ivity). Good.