For Peter Brereton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tecsys, discipline is a key component to ensure success in business and in life.
The winner of the 2015 National Bank SME Award in the "Jury's Choice – Community Involvement" category, tells us about the importance of this principle in business and in managing your personal finances.
"In my industry, discipline is fundamental," explains Peter Brereton. Designing supply chain management software is a long process, as is carving out a place in the niche markets that Tecsys targets, such as the U.S. hospital sector. The CEO explains that it took at least two years for the company to reach an agreement with their first hospital and two more years after that to win over another. "In our industry, we work on a long-term basis, meaning we need to have a plan and align our actions to achieve our goals.", he says.
For Mr. Brereton, discipline and developing a plan are inseparable.
He also advises others to set objectives, then break a project up into stages and actions that will allow each step to be completed. That way, you'll be less stressed and find it easier to achieve your objectives. "What is expected of each member of the team must be clear," he adds. Also, mistakes can prove costly for the organization: "Millions of dollars are at stake!" Another reason why everyone needs to be on their game!
For this business leader, the virtues of discipline are not limited to entrepreneurship. He believes that it is just as useful a quality in terms of personal finance and time management.
The businessman explained that when he was 26, he and his wife decided to pay off the mortgage of their small house before turning 30. Rather than buying a larger one, they chose instead to keep living in close quarters. "Our kids shared the two bedrooms and my wife and I slept in the dining room! But we did it! It was fun to set that goal for ourselves, and achieving it was very rewarding."
The key word is "fun." Setting goals makes discipline a little easier to handle, because it makes it less of a burden and more of a game.
"Discipline is becoming somewhat of a lost art," laments Mr. Brereton. However, he believes that it is more needed than ever now to be able to resist the countless temptations that are out there.
The good news is that you can learn discipline. The CEO of Tecsys acknowledges that he had to develop this character trait, which was far from natural for him: "As a teenager, I was late for class way more often than I should have been," he admits.
Becoming a parent forced this father of four to better organize his time and his finances, with the help of his wife, who is "even more disciplined than me!"
That being said, even today, he sometimes has a hard time getting motivated to go work out early in the morning. The trick he learned was to hire a private trainer, who will definitely show up and bill him for the session whether he comes or not... The moral of the story is that when you're accountable, it becomes easier to be disciplined.
Fun, rewarding, accomplishment: Who said that discipline was a dull virtue?
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