If everything is important, then nothing is. Identify a reasonable number of issues that will have the greatest possible impact on the success of your organization, and then spend most of your time thinking about, talking about, and working on those issues.

Ask yourself often: What is the one thing I do that really matters to this organization?

Conduct quarterly performance reviews with each employee and ask 3 key questions:

What did you accomplish?

What will you accomplish next?

How can you improve?

The 4 disciplines of a healthy organization:

Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team

Create organizational clarity

Over-communicate organizational clarity

Reinforce organizational clarity through human systems

Discipline #1: Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team

Cohesive teams build trust, eliminate politics, and increase efficiency by:

Knowing one another’s unique strengths and weaknesses

Openly engaging in constructive ideological conflict

Holding one another accountable for behaviors and actions

Committing to group decisions

One of the best ways to recognize a cohesive team is the nature of its meetings.  Passionate.  Intense.  Exhausting.  Never boring.

How do you assess your team for cohesiveness:

Are meetings compelling?  Are the important issues being discussed during meetings?

Do team members engage in unguarded debate?  Do they honestly confront one another?

Do team members apologize if they get out of line?  Do they ever get out of line?

Discipline #2: Create Organizational Clarity:

A healthy organization minimizes the potential for confusion by clarifying:

Why the organization exists

Which behavioral values are fundamental

What specific business it is in

Who its competitors are

How it is unique

What it plans to achieve

Who is responsible for what

Organizational clarity is not merely about choosing the right words to describe a company’s mission, strategy, or values; it is about agreeing on the fundamental concepts that drive it.  (Corporate Prioritization)

Clarity provides power like nothing else can.  It establishes a foundation for communication, hiring, training, promotion, and decision making, and serves as the basis for accountability in an organization, which is a requirement for long-term success.

Thematic goals: What is this period’s focus?

Major strategic goals: What are the key areas which relate to that focus, and exactly what needs to be achieved?

Metrics: What are the ongoing measures that allow the organization to keep score?

One of the greatest problems that organizations encounter when it comes to achieving clarity is the inability to translate company goals into concrete responsibilities for members of an executive team…who is truly responsible for what.

Without clear ownership, accountability becomes difficult, even within the best teams.

Discipline #3: Over-Communicate Organizational Clarity

Healthy organizations align their employees around organizational clarity by communicating key messages through:

Repetition: Don’t be afraid to repeat the same message, again and again.

Simplicity: The more complicated the message, the more potential for confusion and inconsistency.

Multiple Mediums: People react to information in many ways; use a variety of mediums.

Cascading Messages: Leaders communicate key messages to direct reports; the cycle repeats itself until the message is heard by all.

Discipline #4: Reinforce Organizational Clarity Through Human Systems

Organizations sustain their health by ensuring consistency in:


Managing performance

Rewards and recognition

Employee dismissal

There is no substitute for discipline.  No amount of intellectual prowess or personal charisma can make up for an inability to identify a few simple things and stick to them over time.