Friday, December 16, 2005

Self Discipline Matters More Than IQ

What a great title. I copied it from BusinessPundit's post here:

Apparently an elementary school study now shows that self discipline is more important than being smart when it comes to performance. This should be obvious but that simple title line really struck me. I'd like to paint it on the walls of my office. This is more that the old adage that half the battle is show up. Half the battle is showing up. The other half is doing something once you show up.

We all know smart people who fail and people at the low end of the bright meter who succeed. The funny thing is that often, both types attribute success or failure to smarts.

It's also the fundamental premise in Execution, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan's management book. Strategy (What's the right thing to do?) is just as important as execution (Doing the right thing), but strategy gets all the big executive books and execution gets the blame when stragegies go awry. How often have we heard, "It was a great plan, we just didn't execute it well."

Both of the major management tools I'm relying on currently deal with Execution. Getting things Done is is about just that, getting things done. Not strategizing how to get things done, not visioning how your life will be better when you get them done. Do it. Cross it off the list. Yes it addresses strategy but the process is very bottom up, very execution oriented from the start.

The Manager-Tools podcast is the same way. They admit, good management is boring. Good management is doing the fundamentals over and over and over again, then doing them over and over and over again. After admitting this, they cover the fundamentals.

As an example, my son is part of band in school. It's a very beginner band. They spent 6 weeks learning 1 note and learning to play it well. I'm impressed by that. Is a well played note better than a poorly played song? Yes. Absolutely.

Prodigies are exempt but you're not a prodigy. Beside, I have yet to meet a management prodigy. Enough talk, I'm back to work.

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