Thursday, 17 February 2011 14:00

Staying the course

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, has no problem making a big bet and sticking to it, even when conventional wisdom says otherwise.

Why?

He’s disciplined. He stays the course.

He started off in books and music and now sells just about anything, including his own e-reader device that threatens his own book distribution business.

And for 15 years, his discipline has paid off, making Amazon one of the best-run companies in the country with a stock price of well over $150 per share.

If you look at most successful CEOs, I don’t think you’ll be surprised to find that discipline, whether it’s mental or physical, is a key trait. When you are disciplined in something, you tend to be good at it. Discipline is the key root of success, because success is not by chance. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about running a company or staying fit, discipline leads, more times than not, to success.

Physical discipline is important to guarantee your long-term plans. You might be the smartest CEO in the world, but if you’re not eating right and are smoking two packs a day, you probably won’t be around long enough to see your success come to fruition.

Discipline is about getting the job done by whatever means possible. If you are not disciplined enough to stay in shape or stick to a diet, hire a trainer to help you. If you are already in shape, share your success and help others find similar results.

On the mental side, being disciplined means controlling your mind. There are a lot of things in this world that you can’t control, whether it’s the economy or government regulations, so there’s little point in wasting time worrying about them. Focus your energy on the things you can control — or at least make a difference in — and leave the rest alone.

Make sure you are well-rounded. Don’t sacrifice your family in favor of your business. Turn off your cell phone when you are spending time with your spouse and children. There will be time to return the call later.

Having this kind of life balance requires discipline. Don’t be one of the CEOs that sacrifices everything to grow a business only to realize 20 years later that they haven’t invested anything into their personal life — and it’s too late to do anything about it.

When you have the wherewithal to be focused on everything from your business strategy to your family, you’ll find you have time to do the things you want and enjoy your success along the way. You’ll be able to spend time focusing on what really matters, letting the trivial and the things you can’t control fall by the wayside. Being disciplined on the physical side means you’ll have the energy and health to enjoy your rewards.

A successful CEO is a disciplined CEO. And if you need help to find your discipline, Bezos has a number of books for sale that can shed insight into anything from how to manage 32 percent annual growth like Amazon has to books on weight loss.

There’s no time like the present to get started on your journey.

FRED KOURY is president and CEO of Smart Business Network Inc. Reach him with your comments at (800) 988-4726 or fkoury@sbnonline.com.

Published in National