discipline important goalsHaving trouble with discipline, to achieve your wildly important business goals?

Recently, I received an excited phone call from a client and friend who was attending a large national conference.

“Kent” was chomping at the bit to share about a seminar he had just attended titled, “4DX” (Four Disciplines of Execution). He felt sure that what he had learned would really help him with his company’s implementation of our System100 software.

System100™ is unique software designed and developed to systemize businesses of all types and sizes. It gives business owners truly sustainable control over their operations!

Kent’s business has been one of our most successful clients, with regard to implementing the software. Excellence matters to him, so he is ever-motivated to move to the next level by continuing the improvement process. During the Conference, Kent was able to purchase the course book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, written by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling. I promised Kent I would also purchase the book and give him my assessment.

What I Learned From “The 4 Disciplines of Execution”

4DX is actually a SYSTEM for achieving whatever goals you have for your business. The book is a MUST-READ for everyone who has trouble staying on a system or implementing goals.  For those who tend to procrastinate, I believe this book may be of help to you.

For some strange reason, entrepreneurs rarely finish one goal or project before moving on to the next, as they see opportunity around every corner. It’s their nature to want to do it ALL; in other words, the effect of reaching for every new butterfly they see. In fact, for some, enough is never enough; therefore, they rarely complete anything before moving to the next butterfly.

What Are the 4 Disciplines of Execution?

1. Discipline — Focus on your Wildly Important Goals (the 4DX book calls them “WIGs”)
2. Discipline — Act on the Lead Measures
3. Discipline — Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
4. Discipline — Create a Cadence of Accountability

Discipline 1 | Focus on Wildly Important

You avoid the pitfall of putting too much on your plate, by focusing on your company’s most wildly important goal. Likewise, too many goals causes little or nothing to be completed or implemented. Sound familiar?

How much of your Small Business Management Software have you implemented in your business?  Example, MIS – Management Information Software, BPM – Business Management Software, Job Shop Management Software and ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning Software is WILDLY important to a business.  However, most small businesses implement less than 20% of there management software’s capabilities.

The Four Disciplines of Execution book talks about the work you do daily in your business. Calling it the “whirlwind,” the book suggests that it’s almost incurable. He calls it the whirlwind, because it keeps you from completing your goals.  4DX was written to help business owners focus on and accomplish goals, in spite of the daily whirl.

My book, System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business, calls the “whirlwind” being bogged down in day-to-day operations. For many companies, it’s just plain old chaos! The book’s purpose is to help companies minimize the “whirlwind” by bringing order through systemization. One system at a time!

The Four Disciplines book tells owners that, instead of focusing on the whirlwind, you should focus on 1 to 3 WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) at a time. In other words, begin with one main WIG.

QUESTION: How do you eat an elephant (your main WIG)?  One bite at a time!

Discipline 2 | Act on the Lead Measures

What the heck are “Lead Measures,” anyway? Lead Measures are WIGs that are broken down into measurable targets or actions that move you toward your main goal. The key word here is MEASURABLE. The famous systems guru, W. Edward Deming, said it well: “If you don’t measure a process, you really don’t know if it’s working the way you expect.”

In The Four Disciplines of Execution book, it says you MUST create and implement a SYSTEM to measure/track your Lead Measures. Moreover, this helps you see if they’re working and moving the “Lag Measure,” which measures your WIG.

What is a Lag Measure?

A Lag Measure is the measurement that lets you know if you are winning or losing the battle; the accomplishment of your WIG.  In addition, the 4DX book gives examples of Lag Measures; like stepping on a scale to measure your weight, or reading a monthly P&L statement for your business.

Discipline 3 | Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

It helps to keep a scoreboard, like at a football game, so everyone can see the progress, at a glance. In like manner, remember in school, the anticipation of receiving your report card every six weeks? As a result, you knew if you were failing or moving forward to the next grade; because, it measured your movement toward winning the ultimate WIG, your graduation.

Discipline 4 | Create a Cadence of Accountability

The word accountability can take on a negative connotation, if not handled with caution by team leaders. Without a steady tempo of accountability, team members may fail to accomplish what they know they should, due to inconsistency.

You set up a “cadence of accountability,” using a minimum of one WIG session per week.  These sessions should be short; no longer that 20-30 minute meetings. With commitment and consistency, you will form good habits.

In the beginning of my System Busters book, I wrote about commitment as a decision.  Without your decision to commit to a goal, odds are, you won’t reach it.

This is just a brief overview of “The Four Disciplines of Execution” book, plus a few of my own thoughts.  I hope this peaked your interest.  I believe reading the book will help keep you, as a leader, on track for successfully reaching your own Wildly Important Goals.

Did I mention? Great systems work!