Being Great by Choice

“If you deplete your resources, run yourself to exhaustion, and then get caught at the wrong moment by an external shock, you can be in serious trouble.”

That’s a wake-up call from Jim Collin’s new book Great by Choice.

Our executive team is reading this book together and as usual, we’re devouring every concept Collins shares.  The beauty of his writing is that although written with businesses in mind, there is usually significant application to church leaders… and in the case of this book, a great deal of application to one’s personal life.

One of the core principles that Collins shares in this book is his 20 Mile March Philosophy – defined as “concrete, clear, intelligent, and rigorously pursued performance mechanisms that keep you on track.  The 20 Mile March creates two types of self-imposed discomfort: 1) the discomfort of unwavering commitment to high performance in difficult conditions, and 2) the discomfort of holding back in good conditions.”

I love this!

It’s another example of a grey leadership issue that we all wrestle with… how do you balance the tension of “the ambition to achieve with the self-control to hold back.”

As leaders we have to set performance markers for ourselves and our teams but at the same time create self-imposed restraints.  Without the balance of both you set yourself up for failure.

If you are constantly driving forward with no restraint you do exactly what the opening quote suggests… you implode when the conditions change.

There is no shortage of examples of this philosophy in action… businesses gone bankrupt because the market collapsed and they were over-extended, churches hanging on by a thread because their debt service is killing them at the same time giving decreased, marriages on the rocks because lack of intentionality left them susceptible to one too many temptations.

Discipline is one of the greatest marks of a life-long leader.  Discipline is what it takes to be great by choice.

How’s your commitment to  your 20 Mile March?

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