Thriving During Times of Adversity

December 27, 2011

The past few years have been marked by various challenges, especially of the financial variety. I do want to be quick to point out that our country has endured much worse and has come out stronger.  Nevertheless, it has been a difficult time for many individuals as well as organizations.  However, some people and some organizations have thrived.  Why?

In his most recent book, Great by Choice, JIm Collins discusses companies that have thrived in times of adversity.  Companies like Southwest Airlines and what makes them different than the others who were in similar circumstances, but fared poorly.  He lists three key behaviors that were consistently exhibited by the organizations that thrived in times of adversity:

  1. Fanatic Discipline
  2. Empirical Creativity
  3. Productive Paranoria

Discipline is key – for individuas as well as organizations.  Following is how Collins describes discipline:

“Discipline, in essence, is consistency of action—consistency with values, consistency with long-term goals, consistency with performance standards, consistency of method, consistency over time. Discipline is not the same as regimentation. . . True discipline requires the independence of mind to reject pressures to conform in ways incompatible with values, performance standards, and long-term aspirations. For a 10Xer, the only legitimate form of discipline is self-discipline, having the inner will to do whatever it takes to create a great outcome, no matter how difficult. . . They don’t overreact to events, succumb to the herd, or leap for alluring—but irrelevant—opportunities. They’re capable of immense perseverance, unyielding in their standards yet disciplined enough not to overreach.”

So – how disciplined is your organization?  How disciplined are you? Is this area an opportunity for growth?

Have a great day – it is starting to snow here in southwest Michigan.
BG

Collins, Jim; Hansen, Morten T. (2011-10-11). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 366-368). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.