The 4 Disciplines of Execution

Summary Written by Tracy Shea-Porter
"The real enemy of execution is your day job! We call it the whirlwind. It’s the massive amount of energy that’s necessary just to keep your operation going on a day-to-day basis; and ironically, it’s also the thing that makes it so hard to execute anything new. The whirlwind robs from you the focus required to move your team forward."

- The 4 Disciplines of Execution, page 6

The Big Idea

Understand: The Whirlwind of your Day Job Keeps You from Acting on Wildly Important Goals

"Important goals that require you to do new and different things often conflict with the ‘whirlwind’ of the day job, made up of urgencies that consume your time and energy."- The 4 Disciplines of Execution, page 7

Why so important?

While your day-to-day tasks are important for today’s success they will not help you progress or prepare for what is needed to succeed tomorrow. This book gives you the tools to help you execute your “most critical strategy in the midst of your whirlwind”.

This point cannot be emphasized enough, and the authors do a great job of underscoring what needs to change. It is so easy to say “I am too busy,” “too overwhelmed” or “what I am doing right now is more important”, but you are selling yourself short. By focusing only on today’s goals you are setting yourself up for failure tomorrow. This is why so many businesses suddenly find themselves struggling to meet the goals that will help them succeed for the long term. You must carve out time for the WIGS (wildly important goals).

How do you successfully deliver your day-to-day work while also concentrating on the WIGS?

Insight #1

Focus on one or two goals for optimum execution

"Focus your finest effort on the one or two goals that will make all the difference, instead of giving mediocre effort to dozens of goals."- The 4 Disciplines of Execution, page 23

The key is to simultaneously manage your day-to-day whirlwind, often filled with many tasks, while also implementing only the top one or two WIGS. If you attempt too many WIGS you are setting yourself up for failure. Your goal: Manage the urgent of today while also executing the wildly important goals that will shape your tomorrow.

How do you implement?

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Insight #2

Hold a Weekly WIG Session to Drive Accountability

"This meeting, which lasts no longer than twenty to thirty minutes, has a set agenda and goes quickly, establishing your weekly rhythm of accountability for driving progress toward the WIG."- The 4 Disciplines of Execution, page 79

Holding a weekly WIG meeting can help drive accountability. During this meeting you will review your WIGS. But you also need a clear structure, on which to track the progress of your WIGS, including specific measures you have put in place to help you monitor your progress and achieve your goals.

The authors present “lead” and “lag” measures, providing a useful set of tools through which to monitor progress. They offer clear examples, throughout the book, to help you understand and develop these measures. For example: “While you can’t control how often your car breaks down on the road (a lag measure) you can certainly control how often your car receives routine maintenance (a lead measure). And the more you act on the lead measure, the more likely you are to avoid the roadside breakdown.”

There are many scenarios, and dozens of company examples presented throughout The 4 Disciplines. There is even a chapter on “rolling out 4DX across the organization.” As you read the book, I suggest you focus on what is relevant to you. This way you can focus on your personal situation and implement the great suggestions in a way that best suits your needs.

Read the book

Get The 4 Disciplines of Execution on Amazon.

Chris Mcchesney

Chris McChesney is the Global Practice Leader of Execution for Franklin Covey and one of the primary developers of the 4 Disciplines of Execution. For more than a decade, he has led FranklinCovey’s design and development of these principles, as well as the consulting organization that has become the fastest growing area of the company.Chris has personally led many of the most noted implementations of the 4 Disciplines, including the State of Georgia, Marriott International, Shaw Industries, Ritz Carlton, Kroger, Coca Cola, Comcast, Frito Lay, Lockheed Martin and Gaylord Entertainment. This practical experience has enabled him to test and refine the principles contained in the 4 Disciplines of Execution from the boardrooms to the front line of these, and many other organizations.Chris’ career with Franklin Covey began by working directly with Dr. Stephen R. Covey and has continued over two decades to include roles as a Consultant, Managing Director, and General Manager within the organization. Chris launched the first 4 Disciplines of Execution Practice in the Southeast Region of Franklin Covey and today has seen it expand around the globe. Throughout this period of significant growth and expansion, Chris has maintained a single focus: to help organizations get results through improved execution.Known for his high-energy and engaging message, Chris has become one of the most requested speakers within the Franklin Covey Organization, regularly delivering keynote speeches and executive presentations to leaders in audiences ranging from the hundreds to several thousand.Chris, and his wife Constance, are the proud parents of five daughters and two sons. His love of family is combined with his passion for boating, water sports, coaching, and trying to keep up with his children.

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