In his book, Great by Choice, author Jim Collins suggests there are several myths companies embrace to try to keep up with the competition.
One of the “entrenched myths,” as he calls it is . . .“Radical change on the outside requires radical change on the inside”
The research shows that great companies react much less to outside circumstances than average ones do. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, and yet at every turn I see the masses following the masses.
Let me make up a new definition of average. Average = following the crowd.
But if great leaders refuse to follow the latest and greatest crowd, what should they do?
Collins says they should maintain their discipline in a fanatical way. He writes, “Discipline, in essence, is consistency of action – consistency with values, consistency with long-term goals, consistency with performance standards, consistency of method, consistency over time. Discipline is not the same as regimentation. Discipline is not the same as measurement. Discipline is not the same as hierarchical obedience or adherence to bureaucratic rules. True discipline requires the independence of mind to reject pressures to conform in ways incompatible with values, performance standards, and long term aspirations. For a great leader, the only legitimate form of discipline is self-discipline, having the inner will to do whatever it takes to create a great outcome, no matter how difficult.”
Wow! What a great reminder of the importance of self-leadership and self-discipline. Leaders don’t go against the grain nor do they go with the flow. They stay true to their mission, no matter what everyone else is doing.
If you find yourself wondering if you need to make a radical change, maybe you should consider doing something really radical like staying the same, only with a renewed commitment to radical discipline.
Parades are overrated. The difference makers are the ones who march to the beat of their own drum.
Why do you think so many organizations fall into the temptation of copying their competition?
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Randy is an author, speaker, executive coach, and the CEO of InteGREAT Leadership. He invests his time encouraging leaders around the world.