Overestimating self-discipline is a huge mistake

When we, as business leaders, sit down on our own or with our teams and plan what we are going to do, we nearly always make two significant mistakes.

Firstly, we don’t acknowledge that of the thousands of things that are very unlikely to go wrong, one or two will.  This means that we as individuals or teams get dispirited as life outflanks our good intentions.  The key here is to acknowledge that stuff will happen and then to be so clear and excited about the overall outcome that you are aiming for that you burst through these minor roadblocks with huge energy.

Secondly, we overestimate how self-disciplined we and everyone else are going to be because we are making these plans when we are not tired, stressed and depleted.  Someone once wrote a book entitled “How to make your New Year’s Resolutions last longer than your hand-over”…you get the point…self-discipline is very much a finite resource.  The only solution to this, short of only employing enlightened buddhists, is setting up and making joint commitments with someone else or a group of people to stick to processes.  As a leader this means agreeing how you will keep track of and focus on each of your team member’s highest priorities every single week.  As an individual, it means committing, probably with your line manager or a coach, to a process of performance management for which you are both mutually responsible.

Maybe take a moment to see how our two programmes – The Leadership Team and The Effective Manager (starts on 17th June) – can help you and your team achieve your goals. 

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