Joy, elation, excitement, thrill, euphoria, and jubilation.  Combine those emotions with a greater sense of responsibility and that would describe how I felt when Suzanne and I found out that we are expecting our first baby.  For us, this was a prayer that came to fruition.  No doubt, the joy that came with receiving this news far outweighed the heightened feel of accountability. 

Over and over again, you will hear that one of life’s greatest experiences is the sense of wonder that accompanies your first opportunity to bring a tiny life into the world.  That elation simultaneously coincides with tremendous responsibility.  You begin to understand how important it is to be setting a good example to follow.

As leaders, we should always be aware of the good example we need to set.  I am currently re-reading the book Good to Great by Jim Collins.  If you are in business you have probably already finished this top-notch book.  His research team studied companies that set the standards in their industry by making consistent and significant capital gains.  The companies had to have experienced 15-year cumulative stock returns that were at or below the general stock market, punctuated by a transition point, then cumulative returns at least three times the market over the next fifteen years.  They found 11 companies like Kroger that consistently demonstrated that kind of leadership in their space.

The research found in Good to Great indicates several similar traits of these companies.  The one that stuck out most to me is that high-performance results depend upon building a culture full of self-disciplined people.  If your culture is filled with self-disciplined people, your company is more likely to go to extreme lengths to fulfill responsibilities.  They found that the majority of people in good-to-great companies tend to be almost fanatical in their pursuit of greatness.  I don’t know about you, but I am not at all surprised by that finding…

As I am preparing to set a great example for my children, I keep going back to the necessity of maintaining a self-disciplined lifestyle.  Perhaps there are some disciplines that we need to re-visit together.  Or maybe implement some new ones altogether.

I have witnessed over and over again that those with a disciplined lifestyle are those that are worth following.   They are the leaders that consistently set the standards.

In what areas of your life would it be valuable to create a new discipline to ensure you are a standard-setter?


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