Welcome to our book review series! Today I’m SUPER EXCITED because I’m reviewing one of my favourite business books of all time. I have used the principles in the book for many business turnarounds and I think it’ll be perfect for this audience. (Check out the Resources page for more great books.) And now without further ado, let’s dive right in!
- Book: 4 Disciplines of Execution
- Author: Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling
- Subject: Business Execution
- *Score: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
*Score ratings out of 5
Who Is This Book For
‘4 Disciplines of Execution’ is for any senior business person who is in charge of getting results. It’s as simple as that. You could be a CEO, Executive, Director or Head of a Department. Anyone with a level of authority who is responsible for achieving a result should read this book. The authors talk about how many people who attend a business course or take a business degree are taught about business strategy and business planning. But most business people don’t have a problem with creating a strategy or a plan. They have a plan with executing the plan. The problem is that most degrees or courses don’t teach people how to execute. That’s what this book is for.
What are the main headlines of this book
Discipline 1: Define The Wildly Important Goals (WIGS)
Everything is urgent, but not everything is important. The first discipline is to narrow the focus down to the few goals that are deemed as the most important. These are referred to as the ‘wildly important goals’ or WIGS for short.
The book gives a brilliant way to set goals for your WIGS. Here’s the formula:
Move [X] to [Y] by [WHEN]
I don’t want to go into too much detail, otherwise, there’s no point you reading the book. Just know that I have personally taught, used and installed this in many businesses and the results are phenomenal.
Discipline 2: Define the Lead Measures
In business, there are 2 types of measures:
- Lead Measures
- Lag Measures
What is a Lag Measure
These are the most common things a business measures. These are the end results after an activity has taken place. It’s the final score. We can’t control them as they are a result of an activity/activities.
What is a Lead Measure
Lead measures are the activities that result in a lag measure. These are the things we can control. They’re typically harder to measure but they are crucial to obtaining the result (i.e. the lag).
Example of Lead and Lag Measures
Let’s say you want to lose weight. The lag measure would be the number of pounds lost. It’s the end result.
The lead measures would be things like the number of calories, the number of calories burned, the number of times you go to the gym. These are all things you can control and they will determine the end result.
If you want to lose more pounds then you must be strict around the lead measures – eat fewer calories and burn more calories. Simple.
In a Sales situation, the lag measure would be something like Revenue. The lead measures might be the number of calls made per day, number of meetings per week, number of email marketing shots sent out per week etc.
Discipline 3: Create A Scoreboard
This is very similar to a tracker (for more on what a tracker is and how to set them up, check this post out). But this tracker is different because you are getting your team to keep score. To use a sports analogy, it would be weird if the players didn’t keep score during the game. How do they know if they’re winning?
The same applies to business. When the players keep score something magical happens – they increase in motivation, they develop healthy competition and they get the result. The Coach needs to keep score, but if you want to drive performance in your team, create a scoreboard that they own, they update and they monitor. Magic!
Discipline 4: Accountability
Byt this point you should have your WIGS, lead measures and a scoreboard. Now you must review the progress in a meeting of some sort. I always advocate scrums as opposed to meetings as they are quicker and much more effective than traditional meetings. (For more on Scrums, check this post out).
In the meeting platform (whichever type of meeting you choose) the leader must go first and hold themselves accountable to the team. They must give their update on how they have done with the lead measures they have committed to. Once they’re done, it’s onto the rest of the team. Rinse and repeat. If someone hasn’t done what they agreed to do according to the plan, the book shows you how to hold people accountable. (PS – it’s not shouting and screaming at them).
If you read one book this year, make it this one. Whether you’re in a business turnaround or not, the information contained in this book will turn your staff into high-performing machines that can execute a goal to a tremendously high standard. I can’t recommend this book enough. In fact, I’ve enjoyed writing this post so much, I think I’m going to read it again…