The 4 Disciplines of Execution

Last week our Founder, Abbie White went to see Chris McChesney’s workshop on the 4 Disciplines of Execution (run by The Growth Faculty).

She absolutely LOVED learning more about the art of execution based on Chris’s 18 years studying the topic, and most importantly hands-on experience working with thousands of businesses.

The art of execution is executing on the wildly important goals in the middle of a 100 mile an hour whirlwind

Top takeaways were:

• Simplicity and transparency are the best friends of execution

• Create an 80/20 rule for managing your time between the “whirlwind” (80%) which is everyday business and “wildly important goals” (20%)

• The “wildly important goals” are what needs focus as without it they will not happen due to the whirlwind. They are a way to focus your discretionary energy.

• Research has shown if there are 2 – 3 goals the probability of success is very high, any further goals will reduce the chance of success.

• Execution doesn’t like complexity, keep it simple.

• Each team should have 1 Wildly Important Goal + the whirlwind. This shows the part each team has in the bigger game.

• Increased engagement was an unexpected finding of the 4 Disciplines of execution approach.


The 4 disciplines are: 


1) Discipline 1: Focus

Example: Pick 2 -3 goals that are the “fewest battles needed to win the war”. Each goal needs to have a start, end, and timeline eg increase profit from 10% to 15% by 31st December 2020.

2) Discipline 2: Leverage

Example: With limited time and resources the key to success is leverage. Act on lead measures not lag measures. Lead measures must be predictive and influenceable.

3) Discipline 3: Engagement

Example: Allow the team to pick their 1 goal that is in addition to the whirlwind and will contribute to the overall WIG (do not dictate the goal).

Ensure that it is a winnable game to drive engagement. Keep a highly visible scoreboard as people play differently when they are keeping score.

4) Discipline 4: Accountability 

Example: Create a cadence of accountability. In weekly WIPs ask what the 1 activity that can be done to impact the lead measure, check progress on previous week’s commitment, update the scoreboard and set new commitments.