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Execution 101 - beginner's guide to 4DX used by Harley Davidson, Dell, ANZ

How 4DX helps keep teams accountable

The 4DX framework, with explanation below 

Okay, so in a nutshell, the 4 Disciplines are:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important.
  2. Act on the Lead Measures (the actions - not the result).
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard.
  4. ​Create a Cadence of Accountability.

The strategy used by a Warren Buffett company and Ritz Carlton helps managers create actual work plans

The 4DX model has lifted productivity at: Marriott International, ANZ Bank, Harley Davidson, Shaw Industries (a carpet-making subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.), Ritz Carlton, Bolinda audio books, Dell, NSW Transport, Lockheed Martin, Downer, and Pfizer.

Intention vs Execution 

To make understanding the 4DX framework simple, let's say you want to be a bit fitter.

Perhaps lose a few kilos.

After all, summer is just around the corner and a winning personality isn’t the currency of the beach.

You clap your hands, and say words to the effect, “Okay, I’m going to exercise every day this week.”

You smile and feel better already, your mind’s eye already replacing the saggy belly with something flat and taut.  

Measuring results is key to execution 

Why, then, is this “exercise every day this week” a badly formatted commitment?

A quote (wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill, admittedly not the fittest man in the room in his day) provides the answer.

‘However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally measure the results,’ Churchill never said.  

In other words, you need to go numerical.

A well-formatted commitment is needed

“I will weight train for 30 minutes and walk for 30 minutes daily” is an example of a well formatted commitment.  

And, it’s a nice example of one discipline from The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) – Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals written by Chris McChesney.

McChesney, the charismatic author of 4DX and Global Practice Leader of Execution for FranklinCovey, explains in his book and workshops that a (30 + 30) x 7 goal passes the test because it is:

  • Specific (what, when, how)

  • Has an ability to influence the scoreboard (your goal)

  • Is timely (the impact of the activity can be seen in the near future)

But influence a scoreboard? Who’s keeping score here?

McChesney says to achieve results, you require a scoreboard.

Think stickers on a chart (and a gold one at the end of each month).

Think crosses on a whiteboard (and pizzas for the office once the goal's reached). 

People tend to play differently when they are keeping score.

Think of two teams kicking a ball around in the park. The moment you mark out goals and announce that you’ll keep score, the individual’s and the team’s motivation soars!

Recapping the 4DX framework 

Remember, the 4 Disciplines are:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important.
  2. Act on the Lead Measures (the actions - not the result).
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard.
  4. ​Create a Cadence of Accountability.

Lead measures and Lag measures

The specified actions you take (30 minutes weight training and 30 minutes walking every day) are Lead Measures .

These are actions that have an impact on your Wildly Important Goal (WIG).

Counting the number of speed bumps in your six pack is called a Lag Measure. The Lag Measure,here in this example, might also be your weight, your waist circumference or your clothing size. 

You must act on and keep a score of lead measures to make any skerrick of a difference.

In other words, you could measure your weight every day but that in itself won’t change your weight (A Lag Measure is the result of your actions or Lead Measures).   

Acting on the Lead Measures, however, will certainly start to make a difference.

Action you can take NOW: 

Now, go back over this article and swap out weight training and walking with “calling prospects” and “sending samples”, “emailing past clients” and “submitting tenders”, or “responding to social media” and “filming content” etc. 

Defining actions that will move the scoreboard 

See what you’re doing?

You’re defining actions that will move that scoreboard.

Instead of "making calls", you’re committing to making “30 minutes of calling prospects every day” or similar. Instead of "find ways to reduce costs", you're committing to "45 minutes a day of sweeping our systems and processes to find unnecessary expenses."  

Mark your efforts and keep that "scoreboard" close and visible.

Acting on your Lead Measures is one of the 4DX keys to success for some of the world’s most robust and profitable companies, and you can implement it in your business. 

Opportunity for the whole team to workshop the framework

Primary developer of the 4DX method Chris McChesney will walk teams through the framework at one-day workshops in Sydney on September 16, 2019, Melbourne on September 18, 2019, and Brisbane on September 20, 2019.

It's an opportunity not to be missed to ensure you're maximising the potential of your team - Book here.

Register now for the FOUR DISCIPLINES OF EXECUTION - CRITICAL EXECUTION STRATEGIES FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS on September 16, 2019, in Sydney; September 18, 2019, in Melbourne; and September 20, 2019, in Brisbane. 

Note: Members of The Growth Faculty receive discounts for events like this. Click here to become a member.