One of my deepest held beliefs regarding leadership of any kind is it starts with a culture of discipline. Show me a leader without discipline and I’ll show you a sub-optimal system. Fact. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Everything.
A culture of discipline trumps a culture of fun and frivolity every, single time. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having fun. I love to have fun while I work. In fact, I laugh in most every practice and even have others laughing along occasionally. Practice is my workplace and most first time observers say it looks like I’m winging it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every practice is a result of my disciplined preparation and the prep work of my client. The best practices are always ones where my discipline is matched by that of my client. Few clients have the discipline to prepare the way the BTL Builder does. Few.
Today, one of my few prepared well. We focused on his fail and turned it into learning. He wrote well prior and during practice. He got better. We tuned into pure signal. Tuned out noise. We laughed a lot. Kicked his ASS a little. He got loaded up with enough PA to weigh most down. Not him. He’s gonna eat these PA for lunch. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have pushed him this hard. He’s gotten stronger. This is why we’re here. Good.
You see, friend, my client and I did some heavy lifting. Leadership lessons are messy things when learned in the real world. They mostly involve humans missing the mark – on purpose or through no fault of their own. Either way, messes are made. Leaders clean ‘em up. So, as we wrapped it up, I reminded him this practice had been hard and he had done well. We shared a rye laugh. Sensing the moment was right I pulled out one of my favorite C.S. Lewis thoughts – Happiness is a horrible aim but a wonderful outcome. We both laughed at our good fortune to be blessed by wisdom from those that came before us. Blessed.
Want to have more fun, leader? Do what is hard now (build a culture of discipline) Life will get easier (it’s fun when you win the right way). Do what is easy now (build a culture where anything goes) and life will eventually get really, really hard (insert example du jour). Truth.
Aim at excellence. Build a culture of discipline. Raise standards over time and through adversity. Create a sustainable, high performance system. Sound like fun? Start by building a culture of discipline within you. Where, leader, are you a bit too loose, lack discipline, and see the leaks coming even though nobody else does? A more disciplined team is the result of a more disciplined leader. Let’s get to work. Hard on self. Never down. A culture of discipline. You building one?
Live hard. Love harder…