The acclaimed business thinker and author Jim Collins eloquently recounts the 1911 race to the South Pole. He uses this true story as a parable to identify what traits or behaviors lead to survival and success. Collins argues that three key ingredients for sustainability are fanatic discipline, empirical creativity, and productive paranoia. He suggests that organizations rise or fall not due to luck, but by intentional actions expressed as “consecutive performance.”    

Speaking at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, Collins encourages ministry and business leaders to achieve consecutive performance in stages or seasons of commitment. He argues that we cannot maintain our focus or productivity if we lack sufficient discipline – but neither can we maintain it if we work endlessly with no down time to rest, reflect and recalibrate.

Collins recommends that we adopt what the winner of that 1911 race rigidly lived out: a daily 20-mile march. No matter what conditions you face, go 20-miles. No more. No less. No matter what. It is this discipline and commitment that resulted in survival and success for the winner of the South Pole race, and it is this same commitment he routinely sees present in companies that have a long record of financial success.

In my next post, I will discuss what a “20-mile march” looks like for Lead Them Home. Until then, enjoy Collins’ story in the October 17, 2011 issue of Fortune.  

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