A Book I Recommend: The 4 Disciplines of Execution

A book I recommend to leaders, especially those who want to improve themselves and their teams in the area of execution, is The 4 Disciplines of Execution, co-written by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling. This book is not just about any execution, but the execution of the tasks and projects that will take your organization to the next level—getting done what matters.

Here are their 4 disciplines:

Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important Goals. This discipline emphasizes the importance of identifying a small number of highly impactful goals or objectives (referred to in the book as WIGs, Wildly Important Goals). Instead of spreading resources and attention thin across numerous initiatives, this idea encourages individuals and teams to concentrate their efforts on achieving critical objectives, or WIGs.

Discipline 2: Act on the Lead Measures (vs lag measures). Lag measures are important metrics that tell you about the past. If you have a hotel, a lag measure might be your occupancy during the past month for example. Knowing this metric does not necessarily affect the future. Lead measures on the other hand are action-related metrics that measure activities you (or your team) can do to affect the lag measures. In our hotel example, a lead measure could be how many emails we send per day to previous guests on their anniversaries. The more we meet our goal with these emails, the more certainly we can predict our occupancy will increase.

Discipline 3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard. To maintain motivation and accountability, it’s essential to track progress (tracking lead measures) that will help get us closer to the Wildly Important Goals visually. A compelling scoreboard provides a clear, real-time representation of how well you’re doing in relation to these goals.

Discipline 4: Create a Cadence of Accountability. This discipline emphasizes weekly team check-ins to review our progress on lead measures. Team members hold each other accountable for their commitments, discuss what’s working and what’s not, and make necessary adjustments to stay on track. These meetings create a rhythm of accountability and help maintain focus on the most critical goals.

The book is packed with practical examples and stories of organizations that use the 4DX method.

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