“We will not drift to greatness. If we go there, it will be because of disciplined and thoughtful actions executed consistently over time.”
This is perhaps my favorite quote in Mark Miller’s book, Win Every Day. This line speaks directly to my belief that the key to executing anything well, whether in business, sports, cooking, or even yard work, you must go for excellence. And by excellence, I don’t mean some point or place, what I mean is something that is not achievable, but rather, an ongoing determination to get better every day.
This was the overall message in Miller’s book. If you want to execute well, you must be vigilant in searching out ways to get better by regularly measuring progress and playing together as a team of people who help each other in the quest.
Miller starts by saying, “Winning is not confined to game days. The best way to win on game day is to learn how to Win Every Day.” This speaks directly to what I spoke of above, the power of constantly pursing better. Miller then goes on to get clear about the how as follows. To win every day, you must:
- Pursue Mastery – a lifelong pursuit to make decisions to do whatever you do the right way, not necessarily the easy way.
- Own the Numbers – measure and take responsibility for the things that help you win so you can always be improving.
- Help Others Win – winning consistently demands everyone working together and helping each other succeed rather than getting into silos that seek self-gain.
Through the use of a parable – fear not, it’s a story with people in real-life situations, there are no foxes, owls, beavers, or eagles – Miller shares two stories running side by side. One is about a business struggling to execute better, and the second about a high school football team trying to overcome years of under-performance. The main character, Blake Brown, who, by the way, features in all five books in Miller’s “high performance” series, is the CEO of the business as well as the father of the captain of the football team. By seeking out the leadership advice of the new football coach, Brown learns the three key lessons of execution and teaches them to his company’s leadership team.
When it comes to execution, for me, Franklin Covey’s Four Disciplines of Execution is the bible so I was curious how Miller would approach the subject. I was pleasantly surprised how Miller’s ideas were similar yet different and also found that many of the principles could have come right from the lips of Dr. Covey, a man who definitely influenced my life.
Overall, this quick read was well worth the time and one I would share with young people trying to do better in sports or school as well as with business leaders seriously interested in creating a culture that drives results through service with a continuous improvement mindset.
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