Jim Collins’ Good to Great was the best business book I read for 15 solid years. That changed 2 years ago when I read Chris McChesney’s The 4 Disciplines of Execution (or 4DX), which transformed the way I approached goal setting & achieving at work and in my personal life. I’ve become so passionate about 4DX that I now use it at work and publicly speak about it at conferences and at nonprofit organizations. I hope this article inspires you to read 4DX and put it into practice. I’ll share 11 reasons why below.
- Author Chris McChesney is the real deal. I’ve met him, as you can see in the photo above. I do judge a book by its author, and Chris, Sean Covey and Jim Huling are wonderful human beings who are passionate about helping businesses and individuals improve their practices. Chris is a high energy presenter that captivates audiences with his 4DX message, as you’ll see in two videos I’ll share below.
- 4DX is ultimately about employee morale, engagement and culture building. Yes, 4DX will help your organization set and achieve goals, which is terrific. But it will also energize and engage your team in your organization’s mission and work.
- 4DX principles work at any type and any size organization. 4DX was crafted by the team at FranklinCovey by consulting at over 1,500 organizations ranging from large corporations to small nonprofits to government agencies to churches. 4DX will work for your organization.
- Discipline 1: Focus is a Superpower. 4DX leads in with the discipline of focus. We live in an age of distraction. 4DX is a process that forces you to focus on 1 or 2 “Wildly Important Goals” (or WIGs) at a time. Not 5 goals. Not 10 goals. The law of diminishing returns kicks in and the more goals you try to accomplish, the less you will actual get done. Less is more. WIGs should follow this simple formula: From X to Y by When. You should have a starting line (X), a finish line (Y) and a deadline (When).
- Discipline 2: Acting on the “lead measures” is a game-changing concept. 4DX details the concept of “lead measures,” which are the actions you need to take to achieve your WIGs. Lead measures are 1. Predictive and 2. Influenceable. Most of us set goals and then incorrectly focus on the “lag measure” which is the WIG. Figuring out and acting on your lead measures will transform the speed and impact of your goal achievement. Read 4DX to learn about lead measures alone.
- Discipline 3: People play differently when they are keeping score. 4DX advocates that organizations create a scoreboard to track WIGs and lead measures. They scoreboard should be simple and ideally created by the team. The more creative the scoreboard, the better. You could also track everything in Excel, but that’s sort of boring. :)
- Discipline 4: Create a cadence of accountability. And be agile. This discipline is magic. Your team working on WIGs should ideally meet weekly. It can be a brief 20 to 30 minute meeting. During that meeting each team member reports out on what they accomplished on their lead measures the past week and what they are committing to work on during the upcoming week. The beauty of this “WIG session” is that it creates an “agile” goal achieving forum. Agile means that you can make adjustments to your lead measures based on what’s working and what’s not working. The world changes, and you may need to make adjustments to your lead measures as you work toward your WIG.
- The “Whirlwind” of work/life is the enemy of execution. 4DX acknowledges that one of the biggest challenges to achieving WIGs is that we all have a whirlwind of responsibilities in our daily lives that are necessary to keep our organizations going. The whirlwind never stops. That said, 4DX details strategies for focusing and acting on your WIGs in the midst of the whirlwind.
- 4DX works for personal goals too. I personally dropped 20 pounds of weight in 2017 using 4DX, which I wrote an article about at this link. I set a WIG: lose 20 pounds in 2017. But the key to my success was acting on several lead measures and keeping score. Basic lead measures for weight loss are: 1. Diet and 2. Exercise. However, I went deeper on thinking about lead measures and came up with several more, including getting 7+ hours of sleep a night.
- 4DX has 2 great videos featuring Chris McChesney to give you an overview of the book, which I’ve embedded below. I often show video #1, a 6-minute video, when presenting 4DX at conferences and at nonprofit organizations. If you have the time, I highly encourage you to watch video #2, a 48-minute video, which is a terrific overview of the book’s concepts.
I hope this article has encouraged you to read 4DX! Once you do read it, please come back to this article and post up your thoughts about it in the Comments section below. I’d love to know what you think about it.
If you have already read the book, please share in the Comments section below what you thought about the book. Have you used the concepts of 4DX in your organization or personal life in any way?
p.s. I plan to blog about Work-Life Happiness at least weekly in 2018. I'd be honored if you'd subscribe to my blog's emails on my website at: www.mikepritchard.com/subscribe.html