4DX & Engagement

Not long ago during a meeting with our Partners in Improvement we discussed The Four Disciplines of Execution, an insightful book written by Sean Covey, Chris McChesney, and Jim Huling.

As you may know, the ‘Four Disciplines’ or 4DX is a management system of making consistent and systematic progress on the vital few, a term derived from the Pareto Principle, which indicates that many defects come from relatively few causes.

Our conversation centered on the best ways for an organization to put the disciplines into practical use to improve business results.

An organization can have an excellent strategy, but fail to execute
effectively on that strategy. Almost always the reason is that everyone is BUSY. Organizations experience a conflict between all of the demands to keep the business running on a day to day basis (the ‘whirlwind’) and the time required to move the organization forward to accomplish something great, to make the organization
better and better… to achieve goals they’ve never achieved before!

The book identifies four key elements of execution that can help any organization achieve steady progress on the strategic objectives:

  1.  Identify and focus on a Wildly Important Goal (a WIG)
  2. Monitor and act on LEAD measures
  3. Keep a compelling SCOREBOARD updated by the people doing the work
  4. Develop a rhythm of ACCOUNTABILITY

Like many things in life, these elements are simple but not necessarily easy… but they do enable an organization to apply Deming’s Plan—Do—Study—Act cycle in the face of the whirlwind. They can also serve as catalysts for workforce engagement, as people become increasingly engaged when their goals are clear, and when their progress and productivity are measured and recognized.

We will take a closer look at each of the disciplines in upcoming posts.