The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX):
Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals (WIGS)
| Authors: Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling, 2011 |
What's it all About?
If you are in the mindset that you really want to gain some momentum on a project, a workplace or a personal goal, this book provides a great structure that has been proven to get results. With over 1500 studies on this process, prior to the release of the book, and the fact it is a New York Times Best Seller, there is some real credibility here.
Basically, you will be working with a system that gets results (which is what we are all focused on!). By following 4 disciplines you gain the power to execute your most important goals in the face of competing priorities and distractions. Although the foundation in this book is sound, I will tell you upfront that it does require a serious level of commitment, focus and discipline to make this work.
The Four Disciplines:
- Focus on the Wildly Important Goals (WIG) - focus on less to accomplish more. (I love this one because you must focus on one or two goals for optimal execution, which is the main reason I see so many initiatives never take off, as we are focused on 20 actions with mediocre effort, ridiculous!)
- Act on the Lead Measures – Success is based on “Lag” and “Lead” Measures. Lag measures - track success of WIGs, Lead Measures track activities that drive your Lag Measures. They predict the success of your Lag Measures and are influenced directly by the team.
- Keep a Compelling Scoreboard – People play differently when they are keeping score.
- Create a Cadence of Accountability (The hardest part to sustain) – a rhythm of regular team meetings that focus on the Wildly Important Goals.
The word ‘whirlwind’ has become a regular part of my vocabulary since I began facilitating this concept with clients. Now I use the term almost daily; it simply refers to all the noise that goes on in our day to day lives and operations. This force pulls us away from the value add we want to work on as everyone else in the universe is constantly pulling us away from meaningful work. This 4DX system keeps us grounded, and focused on what matters. It is a simple, repeatable, and proven formula for executing your most important strategic priorities in the midst of the whirlwind.
'If you ignore the urgent, it can kill you today. It’s also true, however if you ignore the important, it can kill you tomorrow.'
What really helped me was the whole concept of Lead versus Lag Measures, and the impact it makes on people when they dig deep to understand the difference between the two.
A Lead Measure is something we can control such as eating, if your goal is to lose weight, or inspecting for oil spills if you are looking to reduce accidents from falls.
A Lag Measure is something you measure when the result cannot be changed. This could be your weigh in at the end of the day, or the number of people that have slipped or injured from a fall.
By creating a mindset of focusing on the measures we can control, and realizing those efforts make a difference on the end result, it becomes very powerful. If the Lag Measures are not changing, then you need to evaluate if you have the right Lead Measures and possibly make a change to get a different result! I have seen the impact it can create when we have insights into problems, and then drive results with this structure and thinking. It is a very dynamic, ‘how to’, results-based process.
If you are all in on achieving your goals, then this playbook will not let you down. Enjoy!
Reviewed by: Trevor Blondeel, September 2019