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An excerpt from
Leading With Passion
by John Murphy

Are you a disciple of action? When it comes to walking your talk, do you walk with responsibility and accountability? Do you execute your intentions with attention?

Leading with discipline requires motivation and effort. It is easy to say we are going to do something. It is quite another to let our actions speak for themselves. It is common to dream. It is less common to turn those dreams into something beneficial, something truly inspiring.

Leading with discipline requires initiative, action and stewardship. This means taking the required steps, doing the homework, working with others, committing to service and following through. It means accepting a certain degree of risk and sacrifice to challenge oneself and raise the bar.

Discipline means showing up early, staying late and doing whatever is ethically necessary to get the job done well and on time. Discipline means saying “no” to negative thinking and disempowering actions and saying “yes” to getting involved and being part of the solution. Discipline means going the extra mile, where there is typically less traffic.

When we act with discipline, we demonstrate care, concern and dependability. We account for ourselves, our teammates and our results.

Leading with discipline requires setting goals and establishing measurement. With effective goals and metrics, we set expectations, assess performance and make adjustments as needed. Without access to the score, we lose the means to accurately measure performance against standards and evaluate progress.

Setting goals and keeping score is motivating. Consider any sport as an example. Without clear goals and score-keeping, the sport can quickly lose momentum and enthusiasm. Often, it becomes boring. However, when a scoreboard lights up and the clock is ticking, the same physical requirements take on new meaning. Something within us lights up. We want to perform well. We want to set a new record. We want to do better than we did before. The simple act of setting goals and measuring performance is a powerful strategy for leading with passion and discipline. It triggers the heart as well as the mind.

Within every passionate leader is a deep sense of conviction. Goals are set to drive focus and accountability. Metrics are in place to assess balance and performance. Heartfelt commitment is embodied to fuel courage, initiative and action. There is a keen sense of discernment, responsibility and decisiveness. Work gets done on time. Good habits are formed. Bad habits are broken. Balance is maintained within and among tasks, activities and relationships, resulting in a sense of harmony and oneness. Think of this like conducting an orchestra. Without discipline, each functional unit could play at will, resulting in a great deal of noise. The passionate leader teaches the value of discipline, timing, practice, participation, patience, teamwork, measurement, and balance. Together, we can make beautiful music, but it does require discipline as an essential habit.

Take a moment now – a moment of discipline – to evaluate your own habits and tendencies. What do they tell you about your sense of passion and leadership? Are you actions inspiring? Do you finish what you start? Do you set clear, specific, measurable goals? Do you keep score, and if so what specifically do you track? Are you holding yourself and your team accountable for performance? Are you stretching yourself and your team to rise to new heights? Are you identifying obstacles to peak performance and removing them? Are you pulling the weeds?

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