The 4 Disciplines Of Execution Book Summary By Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling

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The 4 Disciplines of Execution (2012) is the go-to manual for CEOs and managers looking to get their staff to achieve company goals.

Written by two performance improvement professionals, The 4 Disciplines of Execution offered a comprehensive guide on how to execute strategic goals through active employee participation.

This book dives deep into the four disciplines of execution: focusing on the wildly important; acting on lead measures; keeping a compelling scorecard; and creating a cadence of accountability.

Each section offers key takeaways for leaders who want to motivate their teams and drive progress towards achieving broader objectives.

It's an extremely useful guide that promises tangible results!

The 4 Disciplines Of Execution Book

Book Name: The 4 Disciplines of Execution (Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals)

Author(s): Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 17 Minutes

Categories: Management & Leadership

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Author Bio

Chris McChesney and Jim Huling are two prominent figures at FranklinCovey, one of the top performance-improvement companies out there.

They are both highly successful leaders who specialize in helping people to reach their goals.

McChesney is a recognized thought leader who speaks on topics such as process improvement and customer service, while Huling is an experienced executive coach with years of experience delivering results.

Together, they have brought together decades of collective leadership knowledge to produce the book The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals.

This book is an essential guide for anyone looking to take steps towards achieving their personal or professional goals.

Four Discipline You Need To Follow To Improve Your Execution And Reach Your Goals

Reach Your Goals

Execution is one of the most difficult tasks facing any company, and mastering it is essential in order to reach our goals.

That’s why it’s so important to learn how to put our plans into practice.

Fortunately, The 4 Disciplines of Execution provides us with a guide.

In this book, we learn about four key disciplines for getting our plans off the ground: creating a whirlwind; setting focused objectives; channeling actions; and measuring progress with a scoreboard.

Understanding these disciplines will help us stay on track and increase the chances of actually achieving our goals.

It won’t be easy – but proper execution is absolutely necessary if we hope to succeed.

Don’T Let The Whirlwind Of Tasks Prevent You From Achieving Change In Your Business

When it comes to executing strategic goals, change is an unavoidable task.

Without it, opportunity would be left open for competition to swoop in.

However, the challenging part of making these changes is often changing behavior as opposed to signing off on paper work.

Many executives struggle with this process, but understandably so.

It’s hard enough changing yourself and altering one’s own behaviors; trying to get other people on board with change is a whole different kind of challenge.

People may not understand the goal or see how their behavior will have an effect on achieving that goal, and sometimes they just don’t care about it either.

The whirlwind — all of the daily tasks and decisions (or lack thereof) that consume our time and drain our creative energy — is what really makes change difficult.

Trying to make progress when urgent matters are constantly competing for attention can be incredibly frustrating!

Thankfully though, major strategic goals can still be achieved by mastering the four disciplines of execution as explained by “The 4 Disciplines of Execution Book Summary”.

Executing Your Vision Through Focusing On Wildly Important Goals

When it comes to achieving true success, the first discipline of execution is to focus on what truly matters.

You need to focus your efforts on one or two big objectives, rather than trying to set too many lower-impact goals while getting overwhelmed in the whirlwind of activity.

These big goals must be specific and have a major impact on your team’s performance.

They should function more like specific targets rather than simply providing a vision or mission statement – something that will give your entire team something tangible to work towards.

A real-world example of this can be seen in NASA’s mission for human exploration when President John F.

Kennedy famously called for them to get a man on the moon within ten years.

This goal was specific, had a clear timeframe, and when manned space exploration ultimately succeeded, it proved the importance of setting specific, wildly important goals in order to achieve great things.

So don’t lose sight of your biggest ambitions!

Focusing on specific, wildly important goals is the first discipline of execution and it can help you reach greater heights than ever before!

Focus On Lead Measures To Achieve Your Wildly Important Goals

Important Goals

The second discipline of execution in the 4 Disciplines of Execution book is to meet your goals by choosing the measures that reflect current behavior.

By doing this, you will be more focused on taking the steps needed to reach your goal rather than worrying about past performance.

Lead measures are the best way to go when it comes to achieving goals.

Unlike lag measures which show where you are relative to a set goal, lead measures focus on what you can do now that will help you achieve desired objectives.

For example, if trying to lose weight, calorie intake and exercise level would be good lead measures as they both forecast progress toward the ultimate goal.

Even though it seems common sense that eating less unhealthy food and exercising more will lead to successful weight loss, it is easy to overlook the importance of measuring your current actions.

Keeping track of lead measures gives you feedback on how well something is working in real-time so then adjustments can be made if needed in order to achieve an outcome quickly.

So next time you need help reaching a goal, make sure measure what’s going on right now for maximum success!

Using Scoreboards To Inspire Motivation And Employee Engagement In The Workplace

The third discipline of execution is all about motivating your team to help you achieve your wildly important goal.

One of the best ways to do that is by keeping score of team-member performance.

That’s because people instantly become more engaged when there’s a victory at stake and the prospect of winning brings out their game-face energy and motivation.

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A scoreboard should be put in place, tracking each person’s progress on the WIG.

Whether you use an online tool or an old-school chalkboard, it should include lead and lag measures, as well as essential information such as where the team should be and where it currently stands.

This will allow everyone to quickly see if they are winning or losing so they can stay motivated and engaged while meeting their goals.

For example, let’s say increasing production by 20 percent by year’s end is one of your WIGs – it would mean increasing production by five percent each month.

The scoreboard must show lag and lead measures related to this particular goal, so your team can track their progress easily and effectively.

The Key To Making The Four Disciplines Work At Your Business: Regular Wig Meetings And Accountability Among Team Members

The fourth discipline of execution is establishing a culture of accountability.

This means that team members need to be responsible for their individual tasks, as well as their Wegoals (WIGs).

To ensure everybody remains committed long-term, you should arrange regular WIG meetings with your team which include an overview of the commitments made in the previous week; a review of the scoreboard; and a plan for the forthcoming week.

During these meetings, make sure that everyone feels empowered to come up with specific commitments related to the WIGs and make them accountable to each other.

An example of this could be seen in Town Park – the valet parking services company – who adopted Four Disciplines Execution and decided on their WIG being customer satisfaction.

The team identified that ‘reducing retrieval time’ was a key lead measure, so they came up with creative solutions like rotating cars from the back to front of the parking lot when they knew a customer would soon call for it.

To effectively implement Four Disciplines Execution, it’s not enough just to be aware of what needs doing: You must also invest real effort into making it happen.

Implementing The 4 Disciplines Of Execution In The Workplace – A Step-By-Step Guide


With the 4 Disciplines of Execution, you can easily follow a step-by-step process to implement wildy important goals (WIGs) and identify useful predictive measures.

This will help ensure that you are making the most of your allocated resources and allow you to reach the desired outcome.

The first discipline requires you to select your WIGs.

This can be done by gathering ideas from both leaders and staffers, ranking them based on impact to your overall WIG, as well as testing them for alignment and then providing a simple definition for it with clear deliverables and deadlines.

The second discipline relies on selecting lead measures using the same steps: gather ideas, rank them according to impact on your WIG, testing if they are aligned with the aims of the organization, creating a definition which includes verb, lag measure and deadline.

By following these steps within each discipline – identifying & selecting WIGs as well as lead measures – organizations can be better prepared for their pursuits and achieve their desired results faster.

Creating A Culture Of Accountability Through The Fourth Discipline Of Execution

When you read The 4 Disciplines of Execution, one of the most important steps you’ll learn is introducing a scoreboard and creating an effective cycle of accountability on your team.

First, you should come up with the preliminary theme – whether that’s a speedometer, a bar chart or something else entirely – and then step back and ask your team to implement it.

That way, they’ll be more motivated to stay engaged and take ownership.

Furthermore, your own commitment as a leader is critical in this process.

You need to set an example for the rest of the team by attending regular meetings and following through on commitments.

Don’t mix up any WIG goals or whirlwinds – make sure everyone on the team meets their targets when it comes to extraordinary goals each week so that overall performance can be improved.

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate success!

Once every WIG goal is achieved and deadlines are met, make sure to recognize how far everyone has come by applauding great work done together as a cohesive unit!

How To Successfully Implement The Four Disciplines In A Large Organization

Large Organization

If you’re looking to implement the Four Disciplines of Execution at a large organization, a six-step process is necessary in order to get every department and team leader on board.

First, you have to clearly define your overall primary WIG (Wildly Important Goal).

This goal must then be discussed with the team leaders involved in each department, so they can define one individual WIG that aligns with the overall goal.

As the leader of the institution, vetoing any goals randomly might not achieve the desired level of engagement you want.

Once the managers have chosen their respective WIGs and lead measures, it’s time to teach them about the Four Disciplines model.

Each team leader then has to launch this model within their own departments while asking for feedback and making sure this is approved by all other members.

The fourth step requires getting additional Coaching for at least three months to perfect this process; finally, quarterly meetings are held with all the Team Leaders towards setting progress made as an Organization.

And there you have it – a sound process for involving all departments in implementing the Four Disciplines model!

Wrap Up

The 4 Disciplines of Execution gives readers the key message that to successfully execute their strategic vision across the organization, leaders should focus on just one or two strategic goals and useful key measures.

The book also offers actionable advice when it comes to choosing a wildly important goal – consider both things within the whirlwind and those outside of it.

From within, it could be something that needs fixing immediately or something your team already excels at.

Outside of this, it may include incorporating new product features or anything else that might give you a strategic advantage.

Overall, The 4 Disciplines of Execution offers an invaluable guide to anyone looking to effectively execute their vision across their organization – with actionable advice on how to make it happen!

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Arturo Miller

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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