Strategy Execution – Four Disciplines

Strategy Execution – Four Disciplines

Highlights by David Willden

The 4 Disciplines of Execution

Most people and organizations struggle in setting and achieving goals.   It is interesting  how at the beginning of each new year,  we see fitness centers full of new members anxious to lose weight and become fit.   Generally after one to two months, the crowds dwindle to the disciplined few. Organizations are often the same way.


FranklinCovey is an outstanding time management and people effectiveness firm.   They seem to understand the temptations of people, and  to be able to develop simple and effective training and tools that help people to develop new habits that stick.

The authors of this book try to get at the core of the problem of poor execution,  and they offer four simple and practical disciplines that if adopted seem to promise greater results.   The four disciplines are:

  • Focus on the Wildly Important Goals
  • Act on Lead Measures
  • Keep a Compelling Scorecard
  • Create a Cadence Accountability


1.  Focus on the Wildly Important Goals

We all have the temptation to set too many goals.   We begin our journey determined to achieve them all – and then realize we don’t have the time and energy.  It is best to identify one and at most two goals to really focus on.   This goal  should be  your  ”wildly important goals” or a “WIG.”

2.  Act on Leading Measures 

With your “wildly important goals” in hand,  the next critical thing  is to identify right measures.  There are two types of measures:  lagging and leading measures.  Lagging measures tell you how you have done after the fact.   Revenue,  profits,  customer satisfaction,  are all example of lagging measures.   Even more important are leading measures.   The right leading measures are predictive.   This are based on  a clear understanding of what activities will lead to what results.   Examples of leading measures might include:  number of sales calls,  number of sales presentations,  number of proposals.

3.   Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

A scoreboard is a critical tool in the world of sports.    It is the bottom-line that is tracked minute by minute and often second by second.  Developing a compelling scoreboard can easily have profound impact in an organization. To be compelling a scoreboard show be:

  • Simple
  • Visible to everyone
  • Show the lead and lag measures
  • Tells us immediately if we’re winning or losing

4.   Create a Cadence of Accountability

Cadence in French means pace, rhythm,  or flow.   It is important to develop a rhythm or flow of repeated behaviors that lead to your desired culture of accountability.   No matter how smart your plan is,  nothing will happen until you implement the plan with consistent action.

To develop the cadence, the authors suggest that groups hold weekly meetings where each player:

  • Reports on last week’s commitments
  • Reviews and updates the scoreboard
  • Makes commitment for the next week


Strategy Execution – Four Disciplines

Strategy Execution – Four Disciplines