Willpower, self-regulation, impulse control – these are the
ingredients for a successful career. A successful life. I don’t think so.
Because one time
doesn’t really matter.
A dieter chooses to eat a salad. A smoker decides to skip a
cigarette. A sex-addict stops calling adult hotlines. A teen passes the joint
without taking a drag. A family buried in debt decides to not take a summer
vacation. A manager disciplines an employee for being late. – Bravo! But what happens tomorrow?
Willpower makes a great emergency break, but it’s not really
a way of life (or managing).
We need consistency! Tony Schwartz writes that The
Only Way to Get Important Things Done is to develop rituals because a
person’s reservoir of will and discipline depletes easily and acts of choice use
up a lot of energy. Makes sense. But
what happens when rituals break?
Managing people and businesses is a complex task. Philip B. Crosby said “If anything is certain, it is that change is certain.”
A couple of years ago, I attended a support group
meeting for adults with ADHD and their families. Adults with attention deficit
disorder have difficulty with self-control and sticking to routines (or anything else for that matter) due to low
levels of the neurotransmitters Dopamine and Norepinephrine in their brains. I listened
to the story of an entrepreneur who built a successful car wash business out of
his garage. He did not have the luxury of going through life with great impulse
control or the ability to be consistent, and made many mistakes along the
road. He was crying as he told his personal story of great success and how
blessed he felt. His secret to success, he said, was not discipline,
good habits or a great business sense, it was his values.
Personal values can be an amazing source of power. People (employees) who
know what you (the manager) stand for trust your intentions. And building trust is really
the only way to getting things done collaboratively.
Willpower is an advantage. Consistency a strength. Values