The Beauty of Vision-Aligned Action

| October 1, 2020

GearsGenerally speaking, the word “discipline” isn’t well liked today. Because it can generate visions of power-imbalanced relationships, we would rather not discuss it, thank you very much.

Yet any athlete – even the weekend warrior flavor – understands the importance of discipline and preparation. The best performers spend time mastering their craft, and share it every chance they get. When great runners toe the line, they have spent countless hours preparing for the chance to share their gift.

If we think of discipline as training oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way, taking small and regular steps every day, new ideas become realities, good organizations become great, and the best leaders emerge.

Using Success Principle #4 and the hedgehog-fox analogy in “Good to Great” by Jim Collins (@Level5Leaders), organizations that understand how to be excellent at what they do, and execute that excellence consistently (hedgehogs), will be more successful than sleeker, more “clever” organizations (foxes), who try to win through speed or cunning rather than strategy.

Likewise, adopting a “discipline” of vision-aligned action can be a beautiful thing:

    • Resource Allocation is Cleaner – You place your scarce resources first where they do the most
good. When you run out of resources, you stop spending.


    • Streamlines Decision-Making – When a client of mine used this approach to set their board of directors’ agendas, almost half of what they thought they needed to cover fell off the list. It left more time (not to mention cognitive focus) for what mattered.


    • Creates Engagement – When everyone on the team can see where you’re going, it’s easier to see how each individual contributes to getting there. As people better connect their efforts to the greater vision, they are able to (rightfully) take ownership of their actions.


    • Speeds up Feedback – On a boat, when the entire team is rowing together, it’s easier to see if someone’s stroke is mistimed. That gives her/him an opportunity to adjust, long before the boat goes aground.


  • Service Excellence – If everyone understands how to best serve your audience, your target will get better service and be more satisfied. There is no greater feeling than knowing that everyone in an organization values you.

It takes less effort to create vision-aligned action than to perpetually take off in a direction, only to
have to correct and redirect. Not all movement is motion.


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