The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly
The Disciplines of Execution is a book every leader should read Clayton Christensen Professor Harvard Business School and author of The Innovators Dilemma For fans of Good to Great and The First Days The Four Disciplines of Execution is the foundational text for creating lasting organizational change A Wall Street Journal bestseller withthan copies sold The Four Disciplines of Execution will radically change your businessDo you remember the last major initiative you watched die in your organization Did it go down with a loud crash Or was it slowly and uietly suffocated by other competing priorities By the time it finally disappeared its likely no one even noticed What happened Often the answer is that the whirlwind of urgent activity reuired to keep things running day to day devoured all the time and energy you needed to invest in executing your strategy for tomorrow I guess we all know what BHAGs are and now we have a new acronym thats sort of similar but different enough the WIGs.What I really liked about this audio book is that the focus is on Execution rather than Strategy, its of a how to rather than theory.The authors have clearly demonstrated that it works and that many people and organisations are benefitting from it.It seems straightforward enough to follow and I'd wager that its a benefit to anyone involved in a 4DX process.Team leaders will likely love 4DX as its pretty clear what they need to do and how to do it. I picked up this book, first, from the library But it was so good, I immediately ordered my own copy so I could underline and make notes And in the past month I’ve done just that, reading it 4 times It’s like many books give good advice, but this book is like “do this Then do this Then do this.” I love it It’s exactly what I needed to grow my business. Good book, not great but good, somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4.The key thing that this book that many leadership and management books don't do is that it mostly discusses the how versus the what In addition, it gives good examples of companies (a good variety of companies) that have successfully used 4DX, how they used it, why and what challenges they had in implementing it across their organisations.Negative areas are: the book could be around 30% shorter with repetition and at times, what feels like needless fluff it often feels like a sales pitch for FranklinCovey.Overall, the book is worth reading if you want to figure out how the team can execute to a higher level without burnout while staying focused on the goal It won't teach you a huge amount of stuff you don't know but it does tell you how and will remind you to stay on focus. The first 30% of this book ia truly revolutionary The ideas about focusing on just a few things and letting everything else fall into place is something we all need to hear After that, it quickly loses its luster It seems as if the authors are trying to sell us on their website and products This book, therefore, could've been highly condensed I recommend the summary versions to save your time please. Good enough read once you stick with it First impressions (first 10 or so pages) is that is just a book bragging on itself but if your assigned to read this as a leadership tool it does get better as you continue It has a bunch of Cpt Obvious statements that seem to fall on deaf ears when said by non executives so I'm happy some senior leaders respect this book enough to listen It also gives you a good common vocabulary to express your ideas upward in a way they will understand It's all about not letting your Whirlwind be WIGs. This book is about creating change, getting people to implement a new strategy by changing what they do through commitment rather than compliance.Many business books are based on looking at successful companies and finding common factors in what they do Other times, academics will develop their theory and then go out looking for evidence it works This book is different.Before it was written, the authors had tested these ideas in than 1,500 businesses That's staggering Before the authors developed the ideas and started testing them in the real world, the amount of research into understanding the problems and solutions is incredible It takes a business as large as FranklinCovey to do such an exercise.Improvement initiatives often fail because of the whirlwind This is a great name for all the day to day activities which have to be done to keep the business operating Stuff happens and has to be dealt with so recognise the whirlwind and make improvements anyway.One of the reasons why good intentions get overwhelmed is because too many good things are tried without recognising the few most critical elements that can drive improved success.The Four Disciplines of Execution (often shortened to 4DX) is a powerful system where each element is essential to getting the best results: Discipline 1 is focus on the wildly important goal (often shortened to WIG) Discipline 2 is to act on improving lead measures Discipline 3 is to keep a compelling scoreboard visible to all team members Discipline 4 is to create a cadence of accountability through weekly meetings.Concentrating on this system means improvement initiatives can move forward despite the whirlwind.This sounds simple in theory and the book could have finished after part one and I'd have been wowed The insight of the whirlwind and how it consumes than one main goal is important A great example where common sense isn't that common or obvious when you're in the heat of the battle.Part two takes you deeper into the implementation issues of each discipline and then continues in a similar vein This format of the book does mean it feels repetitive as it peels away layer after layer For some, this will help reinforce learning, for others it will feel boring I considered docking a star.I read the kindle version and there are a number of diagrams too small to read and poor produced Even when you zoom, these are hard to appreciate I'm a visual leaner and again, I considered docking a star.For much of the book, I thought I was going to criticise it for lacking guidance on how to choose the WIG (wildly important goal) and how it could link with your existing mission, vision and strategy Fortunately, in a case study chapter, this issues was dealt with clearly, even though the important diagrams were poorly presented in the kindle format.The final chapter looks at how 4DX can be used to achieve personal goals for your own health of for improving family relationships Understanding the system can improve your life outside of work as well as your business.I have a natural affinity towards 4DX as it brings together my beliefs about the benefit of focus and the importance of performance measures to explain the game and motivate performance when the manager keeps attention on them and regularly asks the question what can you do next week to most influence the goal?My problem is with the execution of the book I believe the authors had the best of intentions to share their knowledge, even if it's also selling their training Too often business books (and training) will tell you what to do but not how to do it This book goes out of its way to give you plenty of guidance.I think part of the problem is the wide scope 4DX can be used by individuals, teams, small businesses and very large and complicated businesses This creates a lot of different usage situations and means complexity and explanations.I read to help my own one man business and the small businesses I work with Other readers won't care about my issues because they are interested in applying the Four Disciplines to a large business or a department within a big organisation I feel 4DX needs a series of books for different situations to help reduce the overwhelm I have some resistance to recommending it to time pressed business owners and have docked one star.I like the system a lot although it does become clear it is tough to maintain the process for long enough to get the gains you want The book starts really well but then starts to feel like hard work If you buy it, I urge you to persevere.Paul Simister, business coach Very thought provoking book broken down into readable chapters.No real rocket science here but does make you reflect on what you are concentrating on in the workplace and how you might focus on the “right” stuff.Good real life examples used and practical tips for embedding in the workplace Interesting focus on execution I really liked the idea of the whirlwind and how it can suck the life out of the most important efforts without the discipline to stay focused It's always a leader's duty and responsibility to set clear priorities and keep people focused on them The leader must also work hard to clear the decks for action on those priorities This is where many leaders fall short in that they don't set the conditions for success.The main problem with the 4DX approach is it acknowledges and accepts the whirlwind as unavoidable and something to be worked around instead of working to reduce / remove it Based on that mindset, the Wildly Important Goal becomes a special project that succeeds because the leader makes great efforts to fence it off from the whirlwind So instead of fixing the workplace / whirlwind, you resign yourself to it and work around it This isn't the stuff of greatness; it's a workaround.Great examples and stories (a hallmark of Covey works) with multiple pages of endorsements (also a hallmark of all things Covey) make this interesting and useful, but I don't think it attacks the core of the problem: the whirlwind. One of the most useful and practical books Was a little sceptical when I bout it turned out to be very helpful Lot of examples and case studies on how this system works Recommended for any manager.