Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review: Stick With It

Reviewing business books has mostly been depressing as I’ve found so many of them directly contradict my values and theological understandings as a Christian and prescribe strategies for “success” wholly incompatible with the Christian walk. So I was particularly pleased with the themes Lee Colan advanced in his new book, Stick With It as they avoided such deficits. Colan reminds us (or informs those who weren’t already aware) that perseverance is the hinge on which the doors of success are opened. While strategic planning is necessary for success it is never sufficient; follow through is key.

Colan breaks down perseverance (or adherence as he refers to it) into three essential components:

1. Focus (on our mission)

2. Competence (to complete necessary actions derived from our mission)

3. Passion (for the whole of the work before us and what it stands for)

For each component, Colan provides a detailed blueprint for building and sustaining the intensity necessary to succeed. He includes useful little strategies such as relying on create once- run many times routines, and tracking leading AND lagging indicators of success to verify we are on track.

Perseverance is a lost virtue in American society, that much is clear. So many (myself included) get excited about a shiny new plan and throw ourselves into things with gusto only to slowly fade in enthusiasm and effort a few days or weeks down the line. 21 days to form a habit and all that right? But how many of us actually make it to day 22? Very few I’m afraid. It’s theoretically simple but never easy in practice: plan to stick to the plan! Keep on keeping on. Have the wise been reminding the young, the weak in discipline, the slaves to quick fixes of this key principle for centuries? YES. Nevertheless, Colan’s voice adding to the great chorus of the wise over the millennia on this matter is a welcome one; one more person reminding us of the importance in seeing things through can only help shape our character.

Anyone who has struggled with self-discipline and found that there is a part of himself that has trouble following through with the well intentioned plans the other part of himself drafts in earnest will find value in Stick With It. Hint: that means everyone. Romans chapter 7 reminds us, “21So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” Colan provides some clear and useful techniques for stepping on the neck of that slothful sinful nature within us. For those readers who do not subscribe to Christianity, you needn’t worry – Colan never actually references scripture or religion  - he simply reaffirms the value of adherence to our mission, be it corporate or personal, and provides practical methods for achieving adherence. But his counsel overlaps so beautifully with scriptural principles that the faithful will easily recognize the wisdom in his understandings and prescriptions whether he intended to present a case for discipleship or not.

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