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The 4 Disciplines of Execution Summary

The 4 Disciplines of Execution Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

Sean Covey a well-known person for New York Times best-selling books including The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make, The 7 Habits of Happy Kids, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has been sold more than 25 million copies, translated into 40 different languages worldwide, and remains one of the best selling nonfiction business book.

Simple Short Summary: The 4 Disciplines of Execution, authors share a concept on how to choose one or two wildly important goals, execute a strategy, focus on lead measures in spite of the day-to-day whirlwind — activities that require to run the business.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The 4 Disciplines of Execution Summary

You come up with a plan when you want to make changes in your organization. A plan that solves all your organization’s problems but coming up with a plan remains easy. The real challenge appears during plan implementation because it requires behavior change of team members.

The 4 disciplines help an organization to apply strategic plans to fulfill goals while preventing the whirlwind. It improves organization output and helps employees to connect with their day-to-day goals.

Whirlwind: Whirlwind is an urgent day-to-day activity require to run the business, but it swallows attention, energy and destroys the implementation process of goal in an organization.

The book shows how to implement a strategy and get things done despite the whirlwind, and your 4DX only requires 20% energy and time, and 80% may remain the whirlwind. A 4DX is a kit of four principles: accountability, engagement, focus, and leverage.

Select Two Wildly Important Goals And Give Your, Attention, Energy, And Time

In discipline 1, focus on one-two goals, and call them your (WIGs) to emphasize top-priority goals.

WIG: Wildly Important goal

A wildly important goal means a significant one, and other goals create no value if WIG remains incomplete. Incomplete WIGs affect your profile, escalating costs, and project delays. To produce the desired output and defeating the whirlwind requires you to take action on one-two wildly important goals. In short, you should choose 1-2 goals and give your time, energy, and attention.

By birth, human being programs to do one activity at a time, not multiple ones. Multitasking impacts your thinking and problem-solving approach and even diminishes brain performance.

As a result, the brain becomes incapable of concentrating on multiple projects at once. When you follow multiple goals, you fail to carry out any because chasing multiple targets lack measurability, focus, and deadline.

To pick a correct WIG brainstorm possible solution with your senior, and team members because WIGs quality gets better when multiple opinions are added.

Once you gather few WIGs arrange them by their impact, now review your shortlisted WIG and think about how it affects the overall growth of an organization. Check do your selected WIGs increase the overall growth of an organization.

Do your selected WIGs measurable? Can a team control the result of your selected WIGs? Therefore, in discipline 1, with senior members and team’s guidance choose one to two wildly important goals and focus on them.

Four guidelines for choosing WIGs:

Rule 1: A team limits to choose only two WIGs, and, in the extreme case, three.

Rule 2: Wildly important goals perform and measure by the team. Additionally, WIG of the lower-level team contributes to the top-level team WIG in an organization.

Rule 3: Each Team allows to choose its WIGs, and a team WIG never relies more than twenty percent on another team. A higher authority may prohibit but not allow to make a final decision.

Rule 4: The Wig formats: “we will go from point A to point B by the specific date.”

Two kinds of measure: Lag and Lead measures

Imagine a giant heavy rock places on the ground – let’s name it a point A and your team intends to shift the rock at point B. Your team tries to push the rock but fails, so it decides to apply a new strategy. Instead of pushing the rock, the team places an iron lever at the bottom of the rock inclined at forty-five degrees.

Example Image

Example Image

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Now every time the team pushes the lever in the downward direction, the rock moves in the forward direction. Suppose, each time the team pushes the lever; the rock moves by 15cm in the forward direction. The movement of rock from point A to B considers a lead measure because it brings results, however, it unable to predict that your actions complete your WIG in the future.

Suppose, your team moves the rock from point A to Z, but moving the rock in the wrong direction, adds no value to your wildly important goal. Hence, to choose the right lead measure(or activity) brainstorm with your team.

Now, the lag measure calculates the values obtain (movement of rock from point A to B) from lead measure. The lag measure also informs your team that the action is worth doing and helps to accomplish your WIG, in other words, lag measure shows that your team will accomplish WIG or not, in the future.

Example of lag measure includes customer satisfaction, profit, revenue, and body weight on a scale.

Lead measure further divides into two kinds small outcomes, and leveraged behavior. First, a leveraged behavior focuses on specific activities of team members. Second, small outcome focuses on team daily, and weekly result.

Additionally, small outcome allows each member to choose its method to do work. You should focus on lead measures ( significant activities) that drive your lag measures because it figures out what your team member do to bring results.

In brief, lead measure brings result and combine with lag measure, to decide that the specific activity will bring result or not, in the future.

Now, for instance, you have another goal to lose weight. To lose weight, you require to change your diet and exercise schedule than to weigh yourself multiple times in a day because spending time in checking weights gives no result at all.

To develop results, you need a lead measure(diet plan + exercise schedule). In essence, investing time and energy in lead measure directly affects your lag measure.

Suggested Reading: The Four Agreements Summary.

Scoreboard Guide Team That Its Efforts Deliver Result

Now, lead measure decides what to do, and lag measure tracks your progress, but score shows current progress status to meet the deadline. Therefore, a scoreboard shows you either you win or lose because, with awareness, a team encourages its members.

A team members scoreboard gives performance status and constantly guides them to move in the right direction. Without the scoreboard, team members may be in doubt either their action producing the intended outcome or not. A team plays more sincerely when its action produces results. Hence, a team should always aware of its score.

A manager scoreboard distinguishes from the team as a team scoreboard shows both lead and lag measures within a glance, and a team member takes responsibility to update the board periodically.

Even, the book, The Secret says like attracts like that means feeling of winning creates and attracts similar feelings. Therefore, the winning taste urges you to repeat the same action to be on the same level. In short, when you win, you repeat the same activity again and again.

Discipline 3 engages your team by showing continuous improvement on the scoreboard. Winning engages you more powerfully than money, job benefit, workplace conditions, and relations, and human behaves differently when an opportunity to score exists at hand. You become highly motivated, and your engagement improves your performance.

However, when no one records score then no one gives its best. In essence, making a scoreboard is crucial for the completion of the wildly important goal.

Accountability Ensures Team Action Must Bring Continuous Result

Executing a new strategy requires everyone to do something different from its existing habits while continuously managing the whirlwind of the day.

The first three disciplines bring clarity, engagement, and focus while accountability ensures a team consistently performs vital activities to brings the outcome. In discipline four, team members take responsibility for their actions.

Guidelines for WIG session:

  1. Each WIG session takes place weekly at the same time and wraps up in 20-30 minutes.
  2. In the WIG session, the team restricts talking about whirlwind even when whirlwind appears urgent.
  3. Employee makes new commitments in each session instead of repeating the same commitment week after week.
  4. Each employee makes personal commitments and completes them within a week to keep moving forward.

Key Takeaway:

  1. A team can only choose two wildly important goals, in the extreme case, three.
  2. Each team member should invest time, energy in doing activities that produce a result.
  3. Team members should regularly update with their goals.
  4. Team members take responsibility for their actions and goals.

Favorite Quote From The Book

“If you’re not keeping score, you’re just practicing.” ― Chris McChesney

“You ignore the urgent, it can kill you today. It’s also true, however, that if you ignore the important, it can kill you tomorrow.” ― Chris McChesney

“There will always be more good ideas than you and your teams have the capacity to execute.” ― Chris McChesney



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