Saturday, December 15, 2012

Outsourcing Self-Discipline

Accountability is essential within your business. You want people doing what they're supposed to be doing and what they said they would do. Accountability to yourself is important, too, but what if you don't have enough? Outsource that.

An important ingredient in personal accountability is self-discipline - the ability to make yourself do things you should and not do things you shouldn't. Yet, according to Chip and Dan Heath in their book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, "self control is an exhaustible resource." Think about it. Every 12-step program is based on changing the person's environment and behaviors, rather than relying on self-control and admonitions like "don't drink too much or "don't eat too much". If self-control and self-discipline are your only strategies for improvement, your likelihood of a relapse is huge.

What to do? One Chief Executive Boards International member said he's outsourced self-discipline of his calendar and personal chores. He had regularly missed appointments, double-booked appointments, missed deadlines, missed tax filing dates, etc. He just didn't have very good systems in place to manage and discipline his time and his calendar. Of course, he could have gone and taken a seminar or adopted a system to help with that or just decided to be more self-disciplined about managing his calendar.

No, he decided, "I'm an extreme case. I don't think I can fix myself by myself." So he outsourced his self-discipline. He hired a personal assistant and handed her 100% control of his calendar. If he wants to meet with someone, he emails or texts her to set it up. If someone wants to meet with him, he refers them to her. She's scheduling his business life, his volunteer life and his personal life. Extreme, you say? How bad is the problem? What would it be worth to have it fixed? And what else could a personal assistant do to improve the business?
Another member said he'd done the same thing in health and exercise. He hired a personal trainer. He's accountable to her. If she's going to be at the gym, he'll be there, too. After all, he's polite - he wouldn't stand someone up for an appointment. He's just not very self-disciplined about going to the gym on his own. He said, "I know I'm going to get a good workout and that I'll make time for it."

Think about it. Do you perhaps need a coach, a trainer, an assistant or a teacher to help you with some part of your life? A big part of that is the self-discipline you outsource as part of that engagement.  
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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International
Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

1 comment:

  1. Terry,

    Great article. Brings a different perspective to the most important ingredient required for success. The most definitive writing I've seen about the topic of discipline is Albert E N Gray's, The Common Denominator of Success. Here's a link



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