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Thoughts on Discipline

I don’t have a great history with discipline. I’m one of those people who, while growing up, historically fought every ounce of discipline thrown my way. As an adult, discipline has taken on a whole new meaning. We learn the necessity of discipline – often times the hard way. So, I guess what I’m admitting is that discipline is a good thing.

It’s very obvious that anything you do successfully will require some sort of discipline. So, why am I even blogging about it? In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success, he discusses ways for achieving success that, in my opinion, have discipline as the foundation. So, while discipline is a rather overused and general term, I find Gladwell’s take on it to be quite relevant and a good refresher to how we can approach our customer listening programs. Here is a summary of Gladwell’s keys to success:

#1: Find meaning and inspiration in your work.

MY TAKE FOR CUSTOMER ADVOCATES: Revisit why you solicit customer feedback. What is the ultimate goal?

#2: Work hard.

MY TAKE FOR CUSTOMER ADVOCATES: To do it the right way, it isn’t always going to be easy. Don’t cut corners.

#3: Discover the relationship between effort and reward.

MY TAKE FOR CUSTOMER ADVOCATES: The customer is the heart of every organization. Reward associates appropriately for their customer-focused successes.

#4: Seek out complex work to avoid boredom and repetition.

MY TAKE FOR CUSTOMER ADVOCATES: Providing the same results to users of customer feedback year over year, with no additional relevant insight for them, will cause them to lose motivation in acting on the insights. Make sure you are answering the hard questions your organization is asking you to solve.

#5:  Be autonomous and control your own destiny as much as possible.

MY TAKE FOR CUSTOMER ADVOCATES: There is no doubt that there are a lot of opinions floating around about the best approach for developing customer strategies. Focus on the right things – those that directly impact the customer. Not what is good for internal politics at the time.

Be disciplined. Keep after it. Enjoy the rewards.

Katie Kiernan
Senior Analyst

About the Author

Walker Weekly

Walker is a consulting firm specializing in customer experience. Helping businesses for more than 75 years, Walker’s diverse team of consultants provides tailored, comprehensive solutions to help companies achieve their business objectives and grow shareholder value. Walker specializes in customer retention and growth, using predictive analytics and other innovative approaches. Walker works with some of the world’s most influential businesses as well as emerging organizations of all sizes. For more information, please visit

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