In the previous steps, we have primarily concerned ourselves with that which we are attempting to discipline ourselves and our organizations to do.
What do we need to do, when does it need to be done, and what are the guidelines for its actual execution that must be followed?
From this step onward, we will concern ourselves with how to achieve that discipline.
Step 3: Reinforcement
For discipline to be effective, it must be reinforced by appropriate feedback.
This requires measurement as well as the appropriate use of rewards and penalties.
Discipline is achieved through measurement and the appropriate use of
rewards and penalties.
This is true when we are developing discipline within ourselves as well as when we are working with others.
Human beings fundamentally function on the pleasure and pain principle. It is vital that disciplined behavior be rewarded and that failure to follow through carries immediate consequences.
Discipline fundamentally contributes to a sense of self-worth and, as such, is its own reward; but within organizations, discipline will typically occur only where compliance and performance are measured and where accountability is present.
Start with measurement first. You cannot improve something that you have not measured. Next look at how you give feedback, both to yourself and others. What rewards do you currently use to reward discipline, and what penalties do you use to discourage nonperformance? How could you make it even better? This step, perhaps more than any other, requires creativity.
Have fun with your rewards. Where appropriate, have fun with your penalties. But let there be no mistake that discipline is required!