Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jim Collins & Confessions of a Turtle

I just finished reading an expert from Jim Collin’s new book (with Morten Hansen) called “Great by Choice.” I am a huge fan of “Good to Great” and “Built to Last”, so was excited to get a peek at his latest release. The excerpt is titled “How to Build a Great Company in Tough Times,” and as usual, Jim doesn’t disappoint.

The theme of this piece reflects on my personal philosophy of slow and steady wins the race. I am comfortable admitting that I probably won’t be the first person across the finish line, but I do know without a doubt that I will always finish when others fail because they burned out during the journey.

Jim’s book addresses this concept, but adds something even more powerful that I have to confess I am not very consistent with. That idea is to have both “a floor and a ceiling” for achievement, and never fall below or above your commitment. He calls it “The 20-Mile March”. Here are few key snippets from the story he tells about two explorers on separate quests to reach the South Pole. They both embark at the same time and have the same environmental circumstances to deal with, but at the end of excursion, the 2 explorers had completely different outcomes.

“The 20-Mile March is more than a philosophy. It's about having concrete, clear, intelligent, and rigorously pursued performance mechanisms that keep you on track. The 20-Mile March creates two types of self-imposed discomfort: (1) the discomfort of unwavering commitment to high performance in difficult conditions, and (2) the discomfort of holding back in good conditions.

Twenty-Mile Marching helps turn the odds in your favor for three reasons.

First, it builds confidence in your ability to perform well in adverse circumstances. Confidence comes from actual achievement, accomplishing stringent performance standards year in and year out, no matter the industry conditions. Accomplishing a 20-Mile March, consistently, in good times and bad, builds confidence

Second, 20-Mile Marching reduces the likelihood of catastrophe when you're hit by turbulent disruption.

Third, 20-Mile Marching helps you exert self-control in an out-of-control environment. Most elements of operating a business are beyond our control- financial markets, customers, employees, but if we focus on an achievable goal that all team members can align themselves with we can manage our way to success in spite of all of the chaos around us.”

As I begin my 2012 planning, I am going to make a commitment to the “Weekly Discipline” I will adhere to in order to achieve my floor and ceiling achievement goals. Slow and steady still wins the race, but you have to be clear and consistent about your training. That is the secret sauce to getting to your desired finish line again, and again and again!

Want to become “Great by Choice” too? Comment below and I will send you my Weekly Discipline Worksheet to get you started in the right direction so we can step into the winner’s circle together!

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