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The 4 Disciplines of Execution: What They Are and How to Apply Them



4 Disciplines of Execution: How to Achieve Your Most Important Goals




Do you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve in your personal or professional life? Do you have a plan to make it happen? Do you struggle with staying focused and consistent on your most important goals?




4 disciplines of execution franklin covey pdf download



If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might benefit from learning about the 4 disciplines of execution (4DX), a framework developed by Franklin Covey, a global leader in leadership and productivity training. The 4DX is based on decades of research and experience in helping thousands of organizations and individuals achieve their most ambitious goals.


In this article, you will learn what the 4 disciplines of execution are, why they are important for achieving your goals, and how to apply them in your personal and professional life. By following these principles, you will be able to overcome the challenges of execution and turn your vision into reality.


Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important




The first discipline of execution is to focus on the wildly important. This means that you need to identify and prioritize your most important goals, and dedicate your time and energy to them.


What is a wildly important goal (WIG)?




A wildly important goal (WIG) is a goal that can have a significant impact on your life or organization. It is not just another item on your to-do list, but something that matters deeply to you and aligns with your vision and values. A WIG should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).


For example, a WIG for an individual could be to lose 20 pounds in 6 months, or to write a book in a year. A WIG for an organization could be to increase sales by 15% in a quarter, or to launch a new product in 6 months.


How to identify and prioritize your WIGs?




To identify and prioritize your WIGs, you need to ask yourself two questions:



  • What are the most important outcomes that I want to achieve in my life or organization?



  • What are the fewest number of goals that I can focus on at any given time?



The first question helps you clarify your vision and values, and narrow down your options. The second question helps you avoid spreading yourself too thin, and focus on the vital few rather than the trivial many.


A good rule of thumb is to limit yourself to no more than 2-3 WIGs at any given time, and to review and revise them periodically. This way, you can ensure that you are working on the most important and relevant goals for your current situation.


How to avoid the whirlwind of urgent but less important tasks?




One of the biggest challenges of execution is to avoid getting distracted by the whirlwind of urgent but less important tasks that consume your daily life. These are the tasks that keep you busy, but don't move you closer to your WIGs. They include things like emails, meetings, phone calls, paperwork, etc.


To avoid the whirlwind, you need to do two things:



  • Schedule time for your WIGs. Block out chunks of time in your calendar to work on your WIGs, and treat them as non-negotiable appointments. This will help you create a habit of focusing on the wildly important.



  • Say no to distractions. Learn to say no to requests, invitations, or opportunities that are not aligned with your WIGs, or delegate them to someone else. This will help you protect your time and energy for the wildly important.



Discipline 2: Act on the Lead Measures




The second discipline of execution is to act on the lead measures. This means that you need to identify and track the key actions that will drive your results, and focus on them consistently.


What are lead and lag measures?




Lead and lag measures are two types of metrics that help you measure your progress towards your WIGs. They are defined as follows:



  • Lag measures are the outcomes that you want to achieve, such as revenue, profit, customer satisfaction, etc. They are easy to measure, but hard to influence.



  • Lead measures are the actions that lead to the outcomes, such as calls made, leads generated, hours worked, etc. They are hard to measure, but easy to influence.



For example, if your WIG is to increase sales by 15% in a quarter, then a lag measure would be the total sales at the end of the quarter. A lead measure would be the number of sales calls made per week.


How to choose and track the right lead measures for your WIGs?




To choose and track the right lead measures for your WIGs, you need to ask yourself two questions:



  • What are the most influential actions that will drive my results?



  • What are the most predictive actions that will indicate my progress?



The first question helps you identify the high-leverage activities that have the most impact on your outcomes. The second question helps you identify the leading indicators that show whether you are on track or not.


A good rule of thumb is to choose 1-2 lead measures for each WIG, and track them weekly or daily. This way, you can ensure that you are focusing on the most critical and measurable actions for your success.


How to use lead measures to influence your behavior and results?




To use lead measures to influence your behavior and results, you need to do two things:



  • Set specific and challenging targets for your lead measures. For example, if your lead measure is the number of sales calls made per week, then set a target of making 50 calls per week.



  • Monitor and adjust your performance based on your lead measures. For example, if you find that you are falling short of your target, then analyze what is holding you back and take corrective action.



Discipline 3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard




The third discipline of execution is to keep a compelling scoreboard. This means that you need to create and display a visual representation of your progress towards your WIGs, and use it to motivate yourself and your team.


What is a compelling scoreboard?




A compelling scoreboard is a scoreboard that shows at a glance how you are performing on your WIGs and lead measures. It should be simple, meaningful, engaging, and visible. It should answer four questions:



  • What are the WIGs?



  • What are the lead measures?



  • How are we doing on the lead measures?



  • Are we winning or losing?



A compelling scoreboard for an organization could be a dashboard or a poster that shows their WIGs, lead measures, targets, actuals, and trends.


How to design and display a scoreboard that motivates you and your team?




To design and display a scoreboard that motivates you and your team, you need to do two things:



  • Involve everyone in the creation of the scoreboard. Ask for their input and feedback on what to include and how to present it. This will help you create a scoreboard that is relevant and meaningful to everyone.



  • Place the scoreboard in a prominent location where everyone can see it. Update it regularly and review it frequently. This will help you create a scoreboard that is engaging and visible to everyone.



How to use the scoreboard to track your progress and celebrate your wins?




To use the scoreboard to track your progress and celebrate your wins, you need to do two things:



  • Use the scoreboard as a tool for communication and learning. Share your results and insights with others, and ask for their feedback and suggestions. This will help you create a culture of transparency and collaboration.



  • Use the scoreboard as a tool for recognition and celebration. Acknowledge your achievements and challenges, and celebrate your milestones and successes. This will help you create a culture of accountability and appreciation.



Discipline 4: Create a Cadence of Accountability




The fourth discipline of execution is to create a cadence of accountability. This means that you need to hold regular and effective meetings where you commit to and report on your actions towards your WIGs.


What is a cadence of accountability?




A cadence of accountability is a rhythm of weekly or daily meetings where you and your team members do three things:



  • Report on the results of the previous week's or day's actions.



  • Review the scoreboard and evaluate the performance.



  • Plan the next week's or day's actions.



For example, a cadence of accountability for an individual could be a weekly or daily journaling session where they write down their results, review their progress, and plan their next steps. A cadence of accountability for an organization could be a weekly or daily huddle where they share their results, review their progress, and plan their next steps.


How to hold regular and effective accountability meetings?




To hold regular and effective accountability meetings, you need to do two things:



  • Schedule them in advance and stick to them. Make them a priority and don't let anything interfere with them. This will help you create a habit of accountability.



  • Keep them short and focused. Limit them to 15-20 minutes and focus on the WIGs and lead measures. Avoid getting sidetracked by other topics or issues. This will help you create a culture of execution.



How to commit to and report on your weekly or daily actions?




To commit to and report on your weekly or daily actions, you need to do two things:



  • Make specific and realistic commitments. Choose one or two actions that will have the most impact on your lead measures, and make sure they are within your control and capacity. This will help you create a sense of ownership and responsibility.



  • Report honestly and constructively. Share your results and challenges, and ask for help or feedback if needed. Don't blame others or make excuses. This will help you create a sense of trust and support.



Conclusion




The 4 disciplines of execution are a proven framework for achieving your most important goals in your personal or professional life. By following these principles, you will be able to:



  • Focus on the wildly important goals that matter most to you.



  • Act on the lead measures that drive your results.



  • Keep a compelling scoreboard that motivates you and your team.



  • Create a cadence of accountability that ensures your execution.



If you want to learn more about the 4 disciplines of execution, you can download the PDF summary of the book by Franklin Covey here: https://www.franklincovey.com/content/fc/execution/4dx-overview.pdf


Alternatively, you can buy the full book here: https://www.amazon.com/Disciplines-Execution-Achieving-Wildly-Important/dp/1451627068


Now that you have learned about the 4 disciplines of execution, what are you waiting for? Start applying them today and achieve your most important goals!


FAQs




What are the benefits of using the 4 disciplines of execution?




Some of the benefits of using the 4 disciplines of execution are:



  • You will be able to achieve your most important goals faster and more effectively.



  • You will be able to overcome the challenges of execution, such as distractions, complexity, and resistance.



  • You will be able to improve your performance and productivity, both individually and as a team.



  • You will be able to create a culture of excellence and accountability in your life or organization.



What are the challenges of using the 4 disciplines of execution?




Some of the challenges of using the 4 disciplines of execution are:



  • You will need to be disciplined and consistent in following the principles and practices.



  • You will need to be flexible and adaptable in adjusting your plans and actions based on your results and feedback.



  • You will need to be courageous and humble in admitting your mistakes and learning from them.



  • You will need to be collaborative and supportive in working with others and helping them achieve their goals.



How can I apply the 4 disciplines of execution in my personal life?




To apply the 4 disciplines of execution in your personal life, you can follow these steps:



  • Identify your personal vision and values, and choose 1-2 wildly important goals that align with them.



  • Identify the lead measures that will drive your results, and set specific and challenging targets for them.



  • Create a compelling scoreboard that shows your progress, and display it somewhere you can see it every day.



  • Create a cadence of accountability that helps you stay on track, and hold yourself accountable for your actions.



How can I apply the 4 disciplines of execution in my professional life?




To apply the 4 disciplines of execution in your professional life, you can follow these steps:



  • Identify your organizational vision and mission, and choose 1-2 wildly important goals that align with them.



  • Identify the lead measures that will drive your results, and set specific and challenging targets for them.



  • Create a compelling scoreboard that shows your progress, and display it somewhere everyone can see it.



  • Create a cadence of accountability that helps you stay on track, and hold regular meetings with your team members or colleagues.



What are some examples of wildly important goals?




Some examples of wildly important goals are:



  • To lose 20 pounds in 6 months.



  • To write a book in a year.



  • To increase sales by 15% in a quarter.



  • To launch a new product in 6 months.



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