To discipline or not to discipline? | Inge Dowden Coaching

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To discipline or not to discipline?

I got to thinking about discipline not only after watching the incredible images of the riots in London and other cities, but also after speaking to a number of business leaders who were having problems with their staff not following orders and instructions. 

So I decided to look up “discipline” in the dictionary and here are 2 interesting definitions: 

“Punishment inflicted by way of correction and training” and “Activity, exercise or regimen that develops or improves a skill”.

And I think herein lies the crux of the matter: if you want to make sure that people do what you want them to do, you first have to follow a good and consistent discipline in terms of setting down expectations, explaining the rules and procedures and advising of rewards and punishments. That’s the training side of things really. And then you have to have the discipline to follow through with it.

Let’s look at this in a work example: the company needs more sales and the boss has decided that in order to find more potential customers, the sales staff have to cold call more prospective customers. Each member of staff has to make 2 calls per day and in the meeting where this is discussed they all say yes. However, after 3 months, only one person has made a few calls, and the others have simply ignored the instruction.

Now unless you use some discipline and enforce the rule, people will just think it was a “passing fad” and continue as they were. So, after giving clear instructions and putting some measurements in place (each call has to be logged with some notes), as well as putting some rewards and punishments in place, you then have to check up on this and reward and punish as applicable.

Once you do this consistently, you will find that people are much more likely to do what you want them to do. Do you remember Super Nanny and her naughty step? That’s exactly the same principle.

So to the question of to discipline or not, I can wholeheartedly say DISCIPLINE!

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