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“Good-to-great companies became like Dave Scott. They rinsed their cottage cheese.”

From Good to Great by Jim Collins


During the stretch when Dave Scott won six Ironman triathlons, he would rinse his cottage cheese to get rid of any excess fat. Whether this actually helped him or not, this small action showed Scott’s discipline, diligence, focus and commitment to be the best. A word Collins uses that relates to this story is “superdiscipline.” Before you explore what superdiscipline would look like for you in your leadership endeavor, the first question that must be answered is, “Do you want to be the best?” The easy answer is “yes” but what does being the best mean and are you REALLY willing to do what it takes to reach that?

Make no mistake, being the best requires you to “rinse the cottage cheese” and have the will to do whatever is necessary to make being great a reality. Everything has a cost. Make sure you count the cost of that superdiscipline. The cost could be financial, but more often the cost is your time, your attention and your ego. I recently met with a prospective client who is exploring taking his team from good to great. While of course I wanted to help them, I said that if he and his team weren’t committed to “rinsing their cottage cheese” practicing their own form of superdiscipline then they may as well not hire me, do nothing, and be satisfied with being “good enough.”

As you go down the path of being the best, first define what “the best” looks like for you, next, define what “rinsing your cottage cheese” is for you and finally count the cost.  Only after you have this information can you assess if “being the best” is for you or not.

Do you really want to be the best?

What would “rinsing your cottage cheese” look like in your pursuit of being the best?

What would be the cost of that action?

Jeff Harmon

Jeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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