Archive for the ‘Discipline’ Category


July 23rd, 2013 by John Gallagher 3 Comments

I feel lucky that with my current job I am sometimes able to work from my home office.  However, it can be very challenging to be highly productive if you do not creat the right environment for success.


I find these 5 barriers that may lead to reduced productivity at home:

1) “Other” to-do lists – When I am home, I tend to  see all the other home projects that need to be done as well.

2) Media interrruptions – Television, social media, you name it…they are more accessible from a home office.

3) ‘Casual’ dress – Every day in the home office can be ‘Casual Friday’.  Being too comfortable (pajamas, fuzzy slippers, workout clothes, etc) cause me to feel less engaged.  I need to be somewhere between fuzzy slippers and suit & tie that I wear while visiting clients to feel in the ‘work zone’.

4) Lack of ‘office hours’ – From the home office, it is easy to just pop back in any time of day and check up on work, well into the evening.  Structure is important for me.

5) Access to good nutrition–  It’s so easy to walk to the fridge for ‘snacks’.  Without proper meals, I get tired, or even grouchy(ask my wife!).

These are just 5 of MANY barriers that must be overcome.  In another post, I will talk about solution approaches I have used to overcome these barriers.

Do you work from home?  If so, what are the distractions that can keep you from being productive?


April 1st, 2013 by Gallagher John 1 Comment

Let’s get one thing straight…there are too many meetings.  We likely waste more time in meetings than any other work activity.  We often have the best intentions.  We envision our meetings looking like this:

good meeting

When really they look like this!!!:

sleepy meeting



bad meetings


Why do meetings more often than not, end this way?

Here are 5 meeting behaviors that lead to bad meetings, wasted time, and lost productivity:

1) They don’t start on time – Seems pretty simple, right?  A 10:00 meeting should start at…10:00?

2) They don’t end on time – You know this meeting…

3) They don’t have an agenda – Who called this meeting anyway?

4) They don’t have a purpose – And, why are we having this meeting??

5) You schedule  back to backall day long.  You know this one… You have meetings from 8-10, 10-12, 12-2, 2-4…In separate conference rooms…in separate buildings… REALLY?!!!!!

Can you imagine the day when these 5 behaviors don’t exist at your organization?  Can you imagine how productive you could be?  Maybe you could even go home on time… Just sayin’…



March 12th, 2013 by Gallagher John No Comments

In my current role as a Lean consultant, I am often asking others to change their work patterns.  I don’t have the ‘authority’ to get them to change.


Often, we as leaders are asked to take on an opportunity where we don’t necessarily have the authority to make all the decisions.  This could be in a project manager role, a support role from a central function, or even as a volunteer in the comomunity.  I believe that to be successful in a role like this, there are 4 must have atributes to achieve success:

1) A disciplined process – If you are asking others to change in a systematic way, yet they see that you are not organized and bring across a haphazard approach, it will be difficult to influence others.

2) Ownership – Clearly, those you are trying to influence must know that you also are bought into the solution.  It has to be a ‘we’ approach to completing a task, rather than a finger-pointing ‘you’ approach.

3) Continuous learning – To influence others, you need to be out front in terms of understanding the topic.  You need to stay up on the most recent trends on your topic, be aware of technology, and other important nodes of communication

4) PASSION for the topic – I believe this is one of the MOST important attributes.  What is your topic?  Whether it is eliminating waste in healthcare to achieve improved quality and reducing cost for the patient, or if it is how to build a rube goldberg machine, you must display passion for the work you are looking to complete or improve.

I am sure these aren’t the only attributes.  However, if you are trying to lead others without authority and aren’t succeeding as much as you would like, ask yourself how you are doing in the 4 attributes listed above.  You may need an adjustment!

What other attributes to you feel are important?  You can share by commenting below.



October 28th, 2012 by Gallagher John No Comments

I have often heard and quipped that the definition of discipline is  “what you need to do, when you need to do it, even though you don’t want to do it.”  One of my disciplines that I enjoy is going to church on Sunday mornings.  Today was a great message for me about the ‘fruit’ of discipline.

In Romans 15:31-32 Paul urges us to Pray(discipline).  As leaders, we need to have disciplines such as reading, coaching, writing, etc.  Where the pastor clarified the message for me today,though, was in the “so that” statement.  We were urged to pray(discipline)…SO THAT we may be rescued, SO THAT we may be acceptable, and SO THAT we may be refreshed.

So, leaders are our hearts in the right place when practicing our disciplines?  Do you just read, or do you read SO THAT you can become more knowledgeable?  Do you just coach, or do you coach SO THAT you might develop others?  Do you just exercise, or do you exercise SO THAT you may live longer and leave a legacy?

I believe it is very important to have disciplines and goals in your life, but it is even MORE important to understand the “SO THAT” in order to realize when you are practicing those disciplines, you understand WHY you are making the investment.

Fill in this sentence for me:

I ______________________ SO THAT I may _____________________________.


September 6th, 2012 by Gallagher John No Comments

This summer, I completed The Big Miss by former Tiger Woods golf coach, Hank Haney.  Like many, I was curious about the Tiger Woods’ ‘story’ from his coach’s perspective.  When I read the book, though, I was fascinated by the challenges that Hank Haney faced in his years coaching Tiger Woods.  I found some of the challenges to be very similar to the journey I am on as an executive coach implementing Lean in Health Care.

I thought the author (and coach) did a good job detailing some of the approaches he used to get Tiger Woods, clearly the best and most polarizing figure in golf, to improve.  Here are 4 takeaways for me from the book to improve your coaching ability:

1) Help coachees see where they need to improve – Tiger Woods is the BEST golfer in the world.  How do you improve on that?  But, the fact is, we all need to get better because the competition is trying to close the gap.  If you are not getting better, than you are falling behind.

2) Help coachees develop a routine (standard work) – For Tiger, Hank Haney instilled the idea of “Nine Shots”.  This was a practice routine that gave Tiger a leg up on competition.

3) Help coachees develop a discipline of reflection – Self-reflection is an important discipline.  In coaching we must get those we coach to ask themselves “What is going well?” and “What could go better?”

4) Know when to listen – Often, the most valuable time in coaching is just listening.  Often, your coachee will systematically talk their way through a situation based on the previous 3 coaching techniques.  When this occurs, the student improves exponentially.

As a coach, you may not get the chance to coach the #1 golfer in the world one day, but you can have an impact on others.  Employ these 4 techniques and your impact will be greater.

The story of the complexities involved with being a part of Tiger Woods was a big part of the book sales.  The techniques that the coach employed are valuable tips from which you can learn

Have you had the chance to read the book?  What are your thoughts?