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The Value of Regimen and Rigor
Author’s note: This article was first published on the original kburkhalter.com blog in January, 2019. It is repeated here in response to growing evidence of the demise of a vibrant work ethic, as evidenced by the rise of Quietly Quitting and Bare Minimum Monday’s and other behaviors of their sort. My own recent experiences with professional staff who are less than engaged, exhibit a lack of urgency and a seeming disregard for accountability also informs my thoughts. It hasn’t been just one experience, it’s beginning to feel like a normal thing, and that isn’t good. Not good at all. A return to basics is warranted, regimen and rigor are good places to start.
Regimen and rigor combine to elevate preparation, a necessary part of any endeavor we undertake.
In today’s pace, however, they are too often overlooked or given short attention. The results can be unfortunate or even unsettling. In the worst cases, failures to act through diligence have far reaching and impactful consequences. The opposite of this equation is just as true, however. When applied with serious intent, regimen and rigor lead to better outcomes and less regret.
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Whether one is deciding which house to buy, college to attend, or making the biggest decisions in business and government, the value of making the right decision is hard to over-estimate. The roadmap to this sweet spot depends primarily on process and discipline.
Regimen is important because it provides foundational grounding, even when the environment around us is chaotic.
Soldiers prepare before going into battle. There is no piece of gear that does not receive their attention and care in the run up, even though they know it is already ready because they have made sure it is. Leaders across all spectrums do the same. They do not assume, they prepare. Preparation is a protocol of focus, ensuring that every detail is thought through and every part ready. It is meaningful and undertaken with intent and purpose.
Regimen narrows our attention and builds confidence. If we trust the process, we can trust the outcome. It clarifies and crystalizes strategy, intent, and planning. It builds cohesion and alignment as those involved in the process work together. When leaders must choose between multiple options, the quality of the process helps others support the decision even when they prefer a different option.
Rigor is a discipline that requires thoroughness, thoughtfulness, objectivity, and effort.
It improves regimen by testing its various elements. Without rigor, regimen may become routine and lose its edge. After all, going through the motions on a well-intended process is still going through the motions. Rigor requires strict attention to values and objectivity. It elevates facts over opinion and bias, and acts as a filter to purify information and analysis.
The world, our lives, and business are running at a fast pace. It can be tempting to take shortcuts, even on our most important decisions. Exercise a bit of rigor in your life. You can start by asking where you may be taking shortcuts, and if those shortcuts are acceptable or risky. Be honest with yourself and act accordingly.
Regimen is based in process. Consistent application builds trust among others and confidence within yourself. Rigor adds discipline and objectivity. Regimen and rigor go hand in hand, and they won’t disappoint when you engage them.