Discipline and Preparation (or lack thereof) Can Make You (or Break You)!

Ever heard the sayings:

  • All hat, no cattle?
  • All talk, no Action?

As tough as this may sound, I believe that if you’re not going to bring your BEST, don’t show up!

What’s your best?

Well .  . . What’s your core purpose?

Why are you doing what you do?

When you do it, what do you expect of your performance . . . and what do you promise to others?

What’s the damage to you (or your organization) if you fail to “Bring IT?”

Can you get away with undisciplined sloppy work occasionally . . . or is your policy one of “Zero Tolerance?”

I think these are all great questions for individuals AND for Organizations of all sizes.

I am a Veteran, and yesterday was “Veterans Day” 11/11/11.

I attended a Ceremony hosted by an organization which I consider to be FIRST CLASS all the way. This is an organization which, for over a century, has exemplified excellence in everything . . . I was excited to attend and had high expectations of the value of the experience.

My guess is that @ 50 Veterans showed up. Veterans from all generations (and wars – WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and currently active duty).

Just assembling that group of folks made the event a success by most folks’ standards . . .


The ceremony was to begin with the playing of taps (solitary trumpet) for the flag raising.

2 inexperienced fellas were the “Flag Detail” . . . These poor guys clearly had not rehearsed their part (ZERO evidence of preparation) and were not able to hoist the flag during the marginally played taps . . . seems they had not realized that there was a knot in the middle of the rope on the flag pole which prevented the flag from going up right side up.

The moderator let them fumble with it for a while and then moved on with the program to let them sort things out while the speeches commenced.


My initial reaction was one of anger. It was apparent to me that this organization had not exercised any level of discipline in preparing for this ceremony.

I think these Veterans Deserved better.

I was not angry with the flag raisers . . . I was angry with the organization for not getting this important ceremony RIGHT.

What COULD they have done to get this right?

– Have a REAL Military Flag Detail? Perhaps from the Local National Guard or College ROTC Unit . . . or ask a few Veterans to do it . . . It sure would have been done RIGHT?

Am I being too tough on these folks?

I don’t think so . . . because there were 50ish Veterans present . . . all being honored for their service to their country . . . having been invited by an organization from which they expected nothing but the best, and the ceremony began FLAT.

The goods news was that there were 2 excellent speakers 🙂

As an attendee, I could do what many “customers” do when they experience disappointing service . . . I could disappear grumbling . . . OR I can offer feedback and let the Leaders of this organization know that my perception of the ceremony damaged their credibility . . . such that they can choose:

(A) . . . To practice 2 of the core attributes of their organization – next time





(B) Not

Which will it be?

If they invite me to next year’s ceremony, I’ll attend with the hope that they hear me 🙂

In everything you do . . . Doesn’t it make sense for you know your standards such that you know what HIGH PERFORMANCE looks and feels like?

Having set your bar . . .

What level of discipline will you commit to “Bring IT” (Excellence)


Where will you draw the line when it comes to preparation (Practice)?

If you’re not appropriately prepared, is your reputation strong enough that it can overcome an occasional poor performance?

How many times can you perform below your standard (your promises) and stay in business?

Just sayin’





Published by Barry Owen

Residential Real Estate sales Strategist Search - Analysis - Negotiation - CLOSED Inviter-Facilitator-Practicer of Open Space Technology Opening safe space for people & organizations to self-organize around issues & opportunities BarryOwen.co Invite-Listen-Love

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