What’s in a word? Engagement for instance. In the business world, an engaged workforce is a productive workforce. Employee engagement though seems an elusive goal.
Look at the word engagement in a different light. Used in the sense we are engaged to be married, it means you are signalling a commitment to each other, to work together for mutual benefit. For any marriage to work, there has to be give and take, compromise and awareness.
There’s talk of an employee engagement crisis across the globe. Some argue this is over exaggerated. One camp says up to two-thirds of the workforce is disengaged. Another argues it’s about one quarter.
Regardless there’s a lot of people unhappy at work.
And how are organisations dealing with this? Not well by most engagement metrics. Billions have been spent. Complex programs with a lot of...
Self discipline is one of the things we need to be taught earlier rather than later in life. It’s one of the Simple Truths: The Simple Truth About Relationships. The Simple Truth About Personal Finance. The Simple Truth about Self Discipline.
Schools need to be revealing this to early Primary children so by the time they are older Primary students they are already leading the younger students through example. Self discipline turns managers into leaders who by example, not words, lead their staff towards profitable businesses. Partners in intimate relationships need to self educate themselves and quietly, lovingly take a stance. Your partner will sense your change and quietly rise to meet you.
Why don’t we hear more about it? Because it’s not glamorous. It’s un sexy. That’s its problem. It doesn’t come beautifully packaged and gift wrapped. If you had to shop for it...
There is a fundamental misunderstanding about what self discipline is and how self discipline works. I say fundamental because - and let me make a sweeping generalisation - 99% of people I speak to have no idea of these basic concepts.
Here’s one. Self discipline is living life the easy way. Not having self discipline makes life hard. Those who have mastered self discipline don’t go back. Life’s too hard the old way. This runs counter to most people’s perceived view of what self discipline is. What usually comes to mind is soldiers marching around a parade ground or that feeling of oppressive authority you remember from your school years. Those who have mastered the art of self discipline understand it is the opposite of oppressive. It is liberating. It is freedom. It takes almost no effort. Doubt that last claim?
What keeps you from driving into the oncoming traffic at 100 kms an hour? It’s not the white/yellow line painted along...
There’s a problem with Millennials. As employees they are disengaged more than ever before. There’s a problem with employers. As leaders they are still using the traditional carrot and stick / reward and punishment approach of improving employee engagement and it just doesn't work anymore.
The workplace has changed and the worker of today has a different set of values and a different agenda: they need to be intrinsically motivated to work. We now have a square peg and a round hole.
Employer and employee are scrambling to work out this motivation puzzle. The truth is most are chasing their tails in a circle because they are missing a key piece of knowledge: the relationship between motivation and self discipline.
Until both employer and employee understand this, all other efforts to improve employee engagement will likely fail.
Understand this and you will see employees go from apathetic to activated.
First, it’s critical for...
Army Sniper School introduced me to the surprising power of self discipline to make measurable change in my life. The measure, in this instance, was accuracy. Eighteen months before my sniper training started I knew nothing about weapons. I once wondered does the bullet came out faster if you squeezed the trigger harder? Seven weeks after starting sniper training I graduated with a new skill. I could - and I quote from the army manual - ‘kill a man with one shot at ranges up to 600 metres’. I am happy to report I never had to.
Sniper students were schooled and ruthlessly tested in six subjects over seven weeks: shooting, stalking, camouflage/ concealment, navigation, observation and judging distances. You were tested weekly on each. Forty two tests. If you failed any test at anytime you were out. A handful of the original twenty course-starters graduated and they were not necessarily the best shots. Naturally gifted marksmen went home early while ho-hum...
Self discipline is not about transcending all of life’s struggles. I struggle every day and I’ll tell you what, I’ve never met anyone honest who doesn’t either.
My most recent struggle was believing I was successful. Understanding your relationship to success is critical to understanding self discipline. For years, decades, I never thought I was. Turns out that I was using the wrong measure of success. I was measuring success by income. I had fallen trap to all I am about to outline in the next few paragraphs. This was my blindspot. And this is really important because it’s pointless mastering the art of self discipline if at the end you always feel like you have failed.
I read the transcript of a commencement speech by writer David Foster Wallace. Here's a taste ....
“If you worship money and things then you will never have enough. Worship your own body and beauty and you will always feel ugly. Worship power - you will feel weak and afraid,...
Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t say you haven’t got time for this mindset sort of stuff. I once said that too. Guess what? I was wrong. I was ignorant. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. The price I paid for this? Wasted effort. Wasted time. Wasted potential.
You will also have a little light go on inside your head. Insight! That insight will lead to hope. That hope becomes optimism. The optimism leaks from you as ideas. You’ll turn those ideas into systems. Be you an individual or an organisation, those systems get you from A to B on whatever journey you are on. This is how you come to know and love and champion the cause of self discipline. Or should I say the little known process of self discipline. Why is that?
There was once a hard working man named Yu. He worked a patch of land at the base of a big hill. The same patch he had worked for many years. Sting, sting, sting the sweat flooded his eyes. Drip, drip, drip the sweat fell from his nose. Dig, dig, dig his shovel groaned.
An old man passed by. What are you looking for he asked. My freedom replied Yu. You’re looking in the wrong place said the old man. It’s on the the other side of the hill. It’s in a cave. The treasure that you seek is always in the cave you fear to go said the old man. Come. I’ll show you how to get there.
Yu had never been to the top of the hill. He often wondered what it looked like. He had been told the view was very beautiful. What would he see? He rarely looked up at the hill for every time he did the sweat would drip drip drip into his eyes and he would have to quickly turn away and keep digging.
You are wrong old man. You and stories of caves and treasure. You are a foolish old...
What's your role in your family?
Ever noticed that the older we get, the responsibility to be the font of all knowledge on family matters and the story archivist seems to naturally fall upon our shoulders.
I do and I’m only 55.
This is certainly the feeling I get when I go and talk to my wife’s parents - in their eighties - and they doubly feel the weight of this responsibility. I would talk to my own parents but they’ve both passed on now and sadly, so have many of the stories of my family that one day, yes one day, I was going write down for the great-grand-children I will never meet. It stings to say it but I failed.
You might just be luckier than that ... stay with me ...
My frustration made me put my thinking cap on.
My name is Julian Mather and if you have a few minutes I’d love to be able to share with you what I have discovered about saving...
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