A Culture of Discipline
A Culture of Discipline
“We based the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it.
We have staked the future of all political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” – James Madison, Author of the Constitution of the United State and the 4th President.
In the book “Good to Great- Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Other Don’t” by Jim Collins, we learn that the 11 companies that made the final cut as the “great companies” all had what the author refers to as Culture of Discipline (Chapter 6).
In my work in helping organizations transform using the principles found in these 11 companies I make the follow statement after the Hedgehog Concept is defined: “ It is vital that you allow your Hedgehog Concept to INFORM the rest of your actions, or all the hard work that went into creating it will be meaningless.” What this means, and what the 11 companies proved beyond any doubt, is that a Culture of Discipline is a focused effort to submit to something greater than oneself, and to vigorously submit one’s talents and skills to its attainment. In a great company that thing beyond oneself is the BHAG ( the purpose, passion and values) of the organization. The reason the BHAG needs to be the focus is because it is the identity of the organization. The purpose is why it exists, the MEGA ACCOMPLISHMENT is where it is headed, and the VALUES are the constructs of Culture. IF you allow your Hedgehog Concept to INFORM your behavior, and IF you hire people who align with it, a Culture of Discipline will RESULT. You will not need to create it, it will just happen.
Unless you allow these critical components to DRIVE everything else you will fail in fulfilling the potential that the Hedgehog Concept describes.
From WHO—to WHAT, the discipline that follows should come out of the framework that the HHC defines, and is meant to FLOW from it. Unless the organization’s PEOPLE align with and agree to submit to this framework it is lost.
But the good news is that within this framework there is a wonderful paradox. The people who submit to the framework, have BOTH freedom and responsibility. And it is a GREAT thing when the natural tension of a paradox can be sustained.
Madison’s quote is a great study in retrospect. The Declaration of Independence is like the purpose statement. The Constitution is like the BHAG, and the TEN COMMANDMENTS of God are the VALUES that form the CULTURE that makes it all work. And as of today, the United States of America and this “culture of discipline” that Madison defines, has worked better, longer, than any institution since the Roman Empire. And the argument can be made that the Level 5 leadership of a duly elected President, Congress and appointed Judiciary that the American system of government describes in its intent, far exceeds the Level 4 leadership of the Caesars, with it’s puppet Senate.
To become a Great organization, profit or not for profit, requires this discipline, this willingness to submit to something beyond yourself, which is why what you seek must bring out the best in you and the people you work with. This is why PASSION and being the VERY BEST, are important.
I would add a third, …..JOY.