Discipline – A Principle of Greatness

“A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.”  ~ Jim Collins, Good to Great

As a child you may have feared and disliked the word discipline.  Being disciplined usually meant you’d done something wrong. In business, discipline can have a negative connotation. Great leaders know to build a great business requires discipline. Discipline isn’t as challenging as it would sound.

As The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan shares, you only need enough discipline to create a habit. Once the habit is established discipline flows, easily.


There are a lot of misconceptions about discipline. Do you ever feel you just need more discipline?  Read The Truth About Discipline, Habit, and Willpower to understand this myth.

How long does it take to create a habit?  21 days?  Read How Long To Create a Habit? You’ll discover it can take much longer and possibly shorter to develop your habits.

Creating a habit requires change.  In How to Build A Habit we shared Michael Bungay Stanier five essential components to build an effective habit from his book, The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever.

Finally there’s one habit I feel is the most productive to embrace. In Developing The Success Habit – Your One ThingThis habit is emphasized in The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan. It’s a business practice I emphasize with all my coaching customers.

You need discipline to build a great business.

M. Alexander noted, “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” 



To build an enduring great organization you need disciplined people, engaged in disciplined thought, to take disciplined action, to produce superior results, making a distinctive impact in the world.

Discipline sustains momentum. Over a long period of time discipline lays the foundation for lasting

endurance. It’s the framework for Good  to Great.  

Here’s how StrategicDiscipline, as coached by us establishes the bedrock for your businesses’ journey from good to Great.

  • Stage 1Disciplined People – Collins believes first who, then what. People are the most important element of a good to great transformation.  How you select these people, who you select, and the type of discipline they possess determines your future.  Positioning Systems follows Topgrading principles to help you select 90% A players for your team. Several of the subsequent elements of Strategic Discipline support maintaining this discipline.  Collins shares these elements as Level 5 Leadership and First Who, Then What—Get The Right People On The Bus.


  • Stage 2Disciplined Thought – A business needs to have the proper thinking to grow. Collins outlines these Thought Disciplines as The Genius of the And, Confront the Brutal Facts – The Stockdale Paradox, and the Hedgehog Concept. See A Map – The Journey from Good To Great for more details on Collins’ framework for building an enduring great organization.  We have helped customers identify their Hedgehog Concept.


  • Stage 4Build Greatness – Here Collin’s framework (see A Map – The Journey from Good To Great again) includes Productive Paranoia, Clock Building, Not Time Telling, Preserve the Core/Stimulate Progress, and 10X Multiplier Return on Luck. These are leadership disciplines.  My customer and I, specifically the CEO, cover these important elements in our monthly leadership team meetings.


Marshall Goldsmith one of the most respected business coaches, author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, and many other successful books, noted at one of our ScaleUp Summits, his success as a coach wasn’t because he was so good, it was because his customers are.

Success is predicated on my customers determination, commitment, dedication, purpose, and openness to ideas.

The most successful customers possess a burning desire to learn and make their business successful.

My good friend Doug Wick – Gazelles Coach in Cedar Rapids Iowa is the author of this insightful article.

Strategy And Execution know that scaling the business doesn’t happen overnight, and it also has to happen at the right pace based on your individual needs. Get in touch with the team and start the process of scaling today!