The Strategy Of Discipline

I attended a very interesting workshop recently, conducted by the Delhi Management Association, on Handling Discipline – Legally And Efficiently.

This was, in general, and excellent seminar for me, personally, as it brought home several points.

One was on the legal aspects of how to handle disciplinary matters. The emphasis was very much on the aspects of handling issues with labour, and I noticed that there was a lot of interest that the young participants displayed in this.

The interesting aspect about this, for me, was the thudding realization that many young managers in sales and marketing, when they transition to general management roles, continue to live in happy ignorance about the rudiments of the legal aspects of dealing with industrial discipline, managing disputes, and the general fall out of the problems of widespread industrial unrest. The results can be catastrophic.

In the afternoon, there was an interesting chat with a lady called Mrs Indu Wadhwa, who spoke about Discipline as Strategy, and this got me thinking.

During my career, I have often spoken of discipline, as I have believed that lack of discipline, lack of application can be, and is, generally very expensive. Expensive in terms of money, loss of morale and, generally sets poor precedents.

Discipline is critical, but we often speak of corporate strategy, marketing strategy, sales strategy, finance strategy. We never speak of discipline as strategy.

Now, if you think about this, the implications are enormous.

While the seminar was excellent in terms of talking about the legal aspects, what really woke me up was this one comment, about discipline as strategy.

I have never read the book “Execution:….” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. I often told people that for me, the title of the book said it all. If you cannot execute a strategy well, then all that remains, is a bunch of pretty power point slides that reside in a boardroom.

When I read Sun Tzu, and the “Art Of War”, he speaks of discipline.

So, while discipline is often spoken of, I like the concept of “Discipline As Strategy”, and this is a topic that I shall come back to.



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