Introducing… the connected CD player, the smart approach to tackle your professional life. It seems impossible to compete with the latest connectivity gadgets. No worries, this one does not take any space, battery life is infinite, and can be very very cool.

The CD player is the individual player at work. The C is Chaos, the daily whirlwind of urgency and overload of information, activities, meetings,… The D is the Discipline you need to master your reality, both Discipline of Thought and Discipline of Action.

The connected CD player is the team player. You must interact, communicate, give and receive inspiration and energy. You have to thrive in chaos, be disciplined and connect.

Let me show you how this mental gadget works. First, list all activities relevant to your job. Second, categorize them in the following five essential disciplines:

Know. As a knowledge worker, you need to learn continuously and be knowledgeable on a product or products and a market or markets. Find out what you need to know to be an expert in your field. You can learn through training, online or traveling in the field. Find the time, everyday, to learn, get out of the office, take the pulse of your customers and your colleagues.

Communicate. This is a two-way road. You can show and tell what you know, but, more importantly: you must listen. This is the discipline of understanding the frame of mind, drivers and concerns of others.

Serve. Service is what your company, your boss, your peers expect from you. You have to do this, it is important and necessary, but occasionally bureaucratic activities may not provide intrinsic value. Watch out carefully this essential discipline, don’t let it consume most of your time and energy.

Execute. This is about being proactive, leading and adding value. This is about creating a product that will be associated to you or your team. This product can be a program, a report, an idea, a tangible product that is specific and can be measured.

Connect. Let’s move now from being a superb CD player to a phenomenal team player. The key is connecting strategy, priorities and metrics, encouraging candid and robust dialogue, being transparent and accountable. This discipline should be embraced by senior and team leaders, but also by individual contributors, who can lead themselves or others in their sphere of influence.

If you thrive in chaos, know, communicate, serve, execute and connect, facilitating collective decision making and strategic planning, you have become the ideal team player, a connected CD player.

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