#268 The 4 Disciplines of Execution

Here They Are: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4

Stephen Covey’s son Sean wrote a great book with some other smart guys from FranklinCovey called The 4 Disciplines of Execution.

I picked it up awhile ago when Cal Newport referenced it in Deep Work. I read it as I prepped for Productivity 101. It’s fantastic.

So, the authors tell us that there are 4 Disciplines of Execution (“4DX”). Here they are in a very small nutshell.

Discipline #1. We need to focus on what they call our Wildly Important Goals. Emphasis on WILDLY. As in: Super, jumbo important goals that really fire you up and that will really make a difference in your life. Note: Not 10 or 20. Not even 3 or 5. Max 1 or 2.

The structure of a good Wildly Important Goal (or “WIG”) looks like this: We will go from x to y by z. That could be a health goal like I will train from today to December 9th for a Spartan Race or a creative production goal like we will go from 0 to 1,000 +1s by January 1, 2020.

Discipline #2. The 4DX guys tell us that our WIG is a “Lag Measure.” It lags behind other things you will do to make that goal happen. Those things that produce the results? They’re called “Lead Measures.” You want to focus on them.

For example, with a WIG lag measure of doing a Spartan Race, you might have a lead measure that is “Hit the Trail every morning.” For the creative production lag WIG, the lead measure could be the Deep Work time blocks put in every day to produce the content.

Discipline #3. Once you’ve defined your WIG and your Lead Measure, it’s time to keep score. You’ve gotta know how you’re doing. More on that soon.

For now, know that the primary score you want to keep isn’t how you’re doing on your Lag, it’s how you’re doing on your LEAD. Did you hit the Trail? Did you bust out x number of Deep Work time blocks? Most people obsess about the outcome lag measures. We don’t want to be like most people. Obsess about what creates the results.

Discipline #4. We’re on a roll. We have a clear, Wildly Important Goal. We know what we need to do to have a shot at hitting it. We’re keeping track of our Lead Measure. Now we need to maintain “a cadence of accountability.” We can’t be all fired up for a weekend and then forget about it the next week.

So, there ya go. The 1 + 2 + 3 +4’s of Executing.

Today’s +1. Quick inventory: How are you doing with them?

Where are you strong? What needs work?

And, as always, most importantly: What ONE thing can you do today to Optimize?

High fours!