Good to Great: A culture of discipline


In Good to Great, the structure follows three core disciplines. Disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action.

Disciplined people covers Level 5 Leadership and First Who… Then What.

Disciplined thought covers Confront the Brutal Facts and Hedgehog Concept.

Disciplined action covers Culture of Discipline and Technology Accelerators.

Culture of discipline in good-to-great companies means that they have a consistent system with clear constraints but they also give people freedom and responsibility within that system. The company employees self-disciplined people who do not need to be managed, and instead manage the company instead of the people.

Jim Collins’s research of those companies uncovered consistent use of words like disciplined, rigorous, dogged, determined, diligent, precise, fastidious, systematic, methodical, workmanlike, demanding, consistent, focused, accountable and responsible.

The chapter states that great companies had people who were “extreme in their fulfillment of responsibilities bordering on fanaticism”. And it likened the fanaticism to athlete Dave Scott who won Hawaii Ironman Triathlon six times and was known to even rinse his cottage cheese to remove any extra fat.

Kind of makes me think of what the 2015 & 2016 fittest woman on earth must go through each day… You can’t have an off day. Or an off moment.


The key takeaways for this topic were:

  • You need to build a culture of self-disciplined people that focus their disciplined action within the three circles
  • You don’t need bureaucracy in your workplace if you have the right people on the bus; it only exists when compensating for those self-disciplined people you need
  • A culture of discipline is a balance between two opposites: people who strictly adhere to a consistent system and also people who are given every freedom and responsibility within the framework of the system
  • People have to engage in disciplined thought and then take disciplined action
  • Good-to-great companies appear boring on the outside, but under the microscope are frantic with diligence and the intensity of rinsing their cottage cheese
  • A culture of discipline is not ruled by a tyrant; saviour CEOs ruling through force will fail to produce sustained results
  • People must strictly adhere to the Hedgehog Concept and leave behind any opportunities that fall outside of it; that will also ensure more opportunities for growth
  • AND most importantly “stop doing” lists are critical… even more so that “to do” lists

That last one is going to be a hard one. I will really have to review what I’m committing to.

Time to get out those weekly planning tools and really figure out what we’re going to achieve day by day, week by week, month by month…


2015: Best Year Yet

Started this lovely process last year after my
lovely old colleague at my previous job/company loaned me a copy of Jinny Ditzler’s Your Best Year Yet.

The book outlines a ten-question framework for making your next 12 months your most successful ever. Perfect framework to run through on New Year’s Day!

The ten questions are:JDitzler

  1. What did I accomplish?
  2. What were my biggest disappointments?
  3. What did I learn?
  4. How do I limit myself, and how can I stop?
  5. What are my personal values?
  6. What roles do I play in my life?
  7. Which role is my major focus for in 2016?
  8. What are my goals for each role?
  9. What are my top ten goals for 2016?
  10. How can I make sure I achieve my top ten goals?

Over the next day, I’ll spend (more than the recommended three) hours on working through 2015 accomplishments, disappointments, lessons, limitations, my values and roles, and the main roles and goals for 2016.

For 2015, I’ve already started my list of accomplishments. Its definitely been my best year yet.

I visited a new Australian city (Perth),  visited Tasmania twice, had some supremely fancy dinners (Fat Duck, Rockwall, Du Fermier, The Botanical) with friends and family, I got a new job and met amazing new work colleagues, flew on a private jet, watched football in 3 states (WA, VIC, TAS), went kayaking on the Yarra and in Tasmania (Lake Pedder), I drove a prime mover and an AMG and a G-Class on a 4WD drive track (thank you, Mercedes-Benz Australia Driving Academy), got to meet Mr (Dr) Loosen himself at a special Riesling masterclass (thank you Prince Wine Store), settled on our new apartment (thank you Little Projects) and reduced my debt… Best. Year. Yet.

Lexii, Justin and I on the wonderful Lake Pedder, TAS in January 2015, with Tassie Bound Adventures

Resolutions Progress Update

I’m currently on day 9 of my new NY Resolutions daily monitoring plan, so I thought I’d publish how I’m going. I’ve been ticking boxes for things I have managed to do each day out of the things I am capable of doing each day (I have a task I can only do on weekends, so I don’t mark that one on weekdays…).

Day 1 = 12/22 = 54.5%
Day 2 = 15/23 = 65.2%
Day 3 = 17/24 = 70.8%
Day 4 = 14/25 = 56.0%
Day 5 = 4/20 = 20.0%
Day 6 = 8/19 = 42.1%
Day 7 = 15/28 = 53.5%
Day 8 = 16/27 = 59.2%

Day 5 and 6 were, as you probably guessed, weekends… I really must try to be more productive on weekends. That’s very lazy of me. Oh the agony. I was about to write down a really good excuse for being so unproductive last weekend, but what’s the point? I mean, surely I could have done more than 20% on the Saturday. And I didn’t even play any Borderlands.

I also think I should be more productive on weekdays. I mean, only one day’s results above 70%. That is partly due to having a lot of work at work to catch up on, so I think once I get a bit of that out of the way I will be able to have a more balanced day, and be able to dedicate more time to more of my other daily to-dos.