10X organizations and their Fanatic Discipline


10X organizations known as 10Xers in Jim Collins’s book Great by Choice are consistently high performing companies who are extremely consistent in action, adhering to strict values, goals, performance standards and methods. They are relentless, monomaniacal and unyielding in focusing on their quests.

Such organizations exhibit Fanatic Discipline leading to what is called the 20 Mile March wherein they set clear and consistent goals and targets and are not enticed to aim higher even during good times..

Why is “Fanatic Discipline” needed for high performance?


Fanatic Discipline helps in displaying extreme consistency of action in terms of values , goals , performance standards & methods.

With a sense of “Fanatic Discipline” , high performers are utterly relentless , unbending in their focus on their quests.

Adopted from Jim Collins’s book titled “Great By Choice”

What happens when “operational excellence” marries “innovation”?


When we marry operating excellence with innovation it multiplies the value of creativity and it turn amplifies growth of a 10x high performing organization

Thus the greatest challenge is to blend creative intensity with relentless discipline

Adopted from Jim Collins’s book titled “Great by Choice”

What happens when the aggressive growth strategy is not sustainable?


Let us a look at the following 10X high performance organizations(highlighted in bold)vs their competitors who were outclassed in the long run

  1. Stryker vs USSC
  2. Southwest Airlines vs PSA
  3. Progressive Insurance vs Safeco
  4. Intel vs AMD
  5. Amgen vs Genetech

Be it AMD , USSC or the other players one common link which made all these companies go out of market was their lack of discipline when it came to framing their growth strategies.When the ride was smooth they aimed for non sustainable levels of growth which eventually led to their downfall when the environment started getting unfavorable for e.g. recession , slowdown etc.

The disciplined “20 Mile March” approach during thick and thin not only enabled the 10X companies survive but be profitable as well during the hard times.For e.g. immediately after 9/11 in 2001 all airline companies reported huge losses barring SWA which reported profits in 2002 as well.

Truly “Fanatic Discipline” when ingrained in the mannerism of an organization and the “20 Mile March” approach works consistently year on year nothing can stop the company from leaving behind a legacy.

Adopted from Jim Collins’s book titled “Great By Choice”.

How do “high performing” companies overcome uncertainty?


“The 20 mile march” or the disciplined and consistent year on year growth plans of high performing companies , impose order amidst disorder , consistency amidst uncertain environment.

This sense of “fanatic discipline” manifested in the form of the well thought out growth plans sacrifice the enticement of aiming for greater growth when the tide is smooth.

Better known competitors of these 10X companies have fallen by the wayside because of  a lack of discipline.These are companies who have aimed for higher and higher growth when the tide has been smooth.As a result of such unplanned growth attempts they have failed to survive during difficult times for e.g. slowdown , recessions etc.

These are times when the sense of discipline of these 10X companies have enabled them not only to survive but be profitable as well.

Think of 9/11 attacks in 2001 , outclassing all competitors , South West Airlines still managed to be profitable in 2002

Adopted from Jim Collin’s book titled “Great By Choice”