D is for The Delight, Discipline And Delivery Approach  

There are many ways to do fine work. One approach is to clarify what would delight your key stakeholders. These may be your loved ones, friends, customers, colleagues or other people.

Bearing in mind what you are prepared to do, it is then to be disciplined and deliver the goods. You can aim to do this in a way that gives delight to both your stakeholders and yourself. The aim is to get, as far as possible, a win-win. Let’s explore these themes.


Great workers love to do work they enjoy. They may be drawn to helping people, writing, painting, gardening, playing sports, designing, solving problems, leading teams or doing another activity. They love the process of discovering new things, doing deep work and delivering the goods.

Some people begin to realise that they can do satisfying things and also earn a salary. The journey they take towards fulfilling this aim can sometimes take many years. These steps often involve focusing on the following themes.


They clarify their strengths – the satisfying activities in which they deliver As rather than Bs or Cs. 


They clarify their potential sponsors – their perfect customers or employers – and the challenges such people face.


They clarify how they can use their strengths to help these people to tackle the challenges and achieve success.

Great workers often explore many avenues when pursuing this route. Somebody who enjoys encouraging other people may go through the stages of voluntary work, social work, teaching and project work. They may then move on to managing, leading teams or coaching.

Some people may follow what are now called squiggly careers. They may move from project to project and role to role. Sometimes the projects and roles may appear quite different, but there are often similarities.

A person who enjoys creating an environment in which people grow, for example, may move from nursing to hospitality to running a café to leading their own business. They continue to follow certain themes but do it in different situations.

Great workers who do work that gives them delight sometimes come to a realisation:

“It may be an idea to also do work that gives other people delight.”

Such workers then become even more customer-focused. They ask themselves the following questions before meeting a customer.

“Who is the person I am going to meet? What is happening in their world? What are the challenges they are facing? What may be their goals? What is their picture of success? 

“How can I use my strengths to help them to tackle their challenges? How can I help them to achieve success? What are the specific things I can do that would give them delight?”

Great workers choose to be volunteers rather than victims. They are crystal clear on: a) What are they prepared to do to help the customer; b) What they are not prepared to do. They then set specific goals around the theme of delight.

Looking ahead, imagine a specific situation in which you may like to do something that would delight other people and yourself. This could be in your personal or professional life. It could be one person or a group of people.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.


The specific situation in which I would like to
deliver things that delight people may be:


The specific things I can deliver that may
delight people in the situation may be:





Great workers follow good habits on the way towards achieving their goals. They take this approach whether they are counselling people, cooking in a prestigious restaurant, training to compete for an Olympic Gold or doing another activity.

Twyla Tharp, the American choreographer, believed in followed positive rituals. Even into her sixties Twyla started the day at 5.30 am and walked out of her flat onto the Manhattan Street. She then hailed a cab that took her to the gym for a two-hour workout.

Twyla explained that it is vital to start the day properly. Writing in her book The Creative Habit, she explains this in the following way.

Great workers focus on the real results they want to achieve. Bearing these in mind, they clarify the key strategies they can follow to achieve the goals. Translating these into a clear action plan, they then do their best to achieve the picture of success.

An athlete, for example, may have a picture of their desired goal. They will create a road map that describes the specific actions they aim to take towards achieving this aim. They will then follow these actions religiously on the way towards achieving their goals.

Some people also do the following exercise. Bearing in mind their chosen destination, they focus the things they can do – including the disciplines they can follow – to do their best to deliver the goods.


The specific results
I want to deliver are:




The specific things I can do – including the disciplines
I can follow – to do my best to deliver these results are:




Imagine that you aim to do your best to deliver the goods. You may rehearse what you are going to do and follow a certain rhythm on the way towards getting results.

You will also aim to keep doing reality checks. Taking time to reflect, you may focus on: a) What is working; b) What can be done better and how. You will then implement the ideas and work towards the picture of success.

Great workers are committed to continuous development. There are many models for taking this step. One approach is to focus on the following themes.

This is a positive approach to development. It encourages a person to build on what they are doing well whilst also tackling areas for improvement.

One key point involves the use of the word ‘add’. Why use this word instead of ‘change’? Here is a specific example.

A newly arrived football coach was about to run his first session with the individual players at Manchester United. One player was the young and often brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo. The coach asked himself:

“How do you help Ronaldo to develop? There are some part of his game he can improve, but how do you encourage him to be open and listen?”

The coach decided to explore what Cristiano might want to add to his repertoire. The player could then have even more tools he could use to be successful.

Bearing this in mind, the coach prepared what he would say on their first meeting. This went along the following lines:

“Cristiano, as we know, you are doing many things brilliantly. We can focus on how you can keep building on these skills.  

“If you are interested, I can also share some ideas you may want to add to your game. These could add to your repertoire of skills. Let me know if you are interested.”

The coach took this approach and it worked. Ronaldo said he wanted to add to his skills and be even more successful.

You will, of course, take your own approach to continuing to develop. It will then be important to focus on the next stage.


Great workers do the basics and then add the brilliance. They aim to deliver the goods and delight their stakeholders. Such workers often do this by focusing on the following steps. 


They follow their chosen disciplines to do superb work on the way to delivering the desired results. 

Dealing With Dramas 

They anticipate and, if necessary, deal with any dramas that may distract them from delivering the desired results. 


They do everything possible to deliver the desired results and, for example, sometimes add that touch of class to delight their stakeholders.

Great workers pursue their chosen strategies. They make sure they will not get diverted by potential dramas. Different people may face different kinds of dramas.

A sports person, for example, may face distractions when aiming to perform at their best. These may include injuries, opponents being unfair, poor calls by game officials, making mistakes themselves or other setbacks.

Good leaders also consider all the potential dramas they and the organisation may face. These can include setbacks, staff problems, system failures or other dramas.

Looking ahead, they plan how to prevent such dramas happening. They also plan what to do if, despite all their efforts, such dramas do happen. 

They plan how to stay calm, buy time to think and gather information;

They plan how to clarify the real results to achieve – these include finding a solution to the drama but also continuing to work towards the desired results;

They plan how to deal with the drama then regain their rhythm and do superb work on the way towards getting the desired results.


Great workers sometimes go beyond maintaining consistently high standards. They demonstrate creativity or daring to deliver the goods.

Great sports teams, for example, follow their chosen disciplines and are then prepared to be daring. They put their energies into trying to win rather than trying not to lose.

Great workers follow a similar pattern. They keep doing the basics and then, when appropriate, choose to be daring. They often do this in a calculated way, however, rather than being careless.

Looking at the situation, they decide they have more to gain – and less to lose – by being daring. They clarify their options for going forward together with the pluses and minuses of each option. They then commit themselves fully to pursuing their chosen strategy.

There are many ways to do satisfying work. One approach is to focus on delighting your key stakeholders and creating win-wins.

If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on this theme. Bearing in mind the activity you want to pursue, this invites you to do the following things. 

Describe the specific situation in which you would like to deliver things that delight people.

Describe the specific things you can do to do your best to deliver things that delight people in the situation.

Describe the specific benefits – for the people and for yourself – of delivering these things.  

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