Installing 4DX with My Team

“…the challenge with execution is not simply executing on a goal, it’s executing on a goal in the midst of a hundred-mile-an-hour whirlwind.” -Chris McChesney, Global Practice Leader of Execution for FranklinCovey and author of The 4 Disciplines of Execution

What is this “whirlwind” you ask? It is the “massive amount of energy that’s necessary just to keep your operation going on a day-to-day basis…” (McChesney, Covey, & Hurling, 2012, p. 6). It is also “the thing that makes it so hard to execute anything new.” So how do we overcome it?

The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a formula designed to execute on our most important strategic priorities in the midst of the whirlwind:

Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important
Discipline 2: Act on the Lead Measures
Discipline 3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
Discipline 4: Create a Cadence of Accountability

Previously, I applied Influencer’s Six Sources of Influence towards my initiative of implementing project-based e-learning (PBeL) in K-12 classrooms (more specifically, the K-5 classrooms within an elementary school). Click here to learn more. Presently, I will apply the 4DX model and the five stages of behavior change to the same initiative.

Stage 1: Getting Clear

The first stage in installing 4DX is committing to a new level of performance through the orientation of 4DX, development of WIGs and lag and lead measures, creation of a scoreboard, and attendance to regular WIG meetings (p. 107):

Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important
Before focusing on my goal for 4DX, I want to restate the result I want to achieve from my Influencer model:

Seventy-one percent of all grade levels within an elementary school will implement a project-based e-learning plan in their classroom by the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic school year.

To achieve this result, all those involved must know what PBeL is. I believe attending professional development in the following areas:

-project-based learning
-digital information network and resources
-educational technology

is crucial to the successful start of the implementation of my PBeL initiative.

Which is why this is my “Wildly Important Goal” (WIG):

Increase weekly attendance to PBeL-related professional development from 0 percent to 97 percent by the last week of August.

Discipline 2: Act on the Lead Measures
Lag measures are “the tracking measurements of the WIG.” Lead measures are the “measures of the most high-impact things the team must do to reach the goal.” In essence, “they must measure the new behaviors that will drive success on the lag measures” (p. 11).

Lag Measure:
-attendance to PBeL PD sessions

Lead Measures (Predictive & Influenceable):
-choose from a list of PBeL PD sessions online, face-to-face or a combination of both (sessions not listed must be approved)
-submit registration of one PD session per week
-submit evidence of attendance (completed registration, certificate, video/photo on PLN, signature, etc.)

Discipline 3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
Each grade level team will have the opportunity to compete for the most hours in attendance of PD sessions per month via a simple and visible scoreboard like the one shown below:


Discipline 4: Create a Cadence of Accountability
Every week, there will be a 15-20 minute meeting to discuss the following (p. 82):
-report on last week’s commitments
-review and update scoreboard
-make commitments for next week

In preparation for the meeting, each member must think about the same question: “What are the 1-3 most important things I can do this week to impact the scoreboard?” (p. 84).

And now, we are ready for Stage 2: The Launch phase!

Stage 2: Launch

Except that we aren’t ready. The launch phase of 4DX is not guaranteed to go smoothly. So the leader must demonstrate intense involvement at this point.

As a leader, I must:
-be focused and energized
-remain focused and implement the 4DX process diligently (and trust the process)
-identify my models, potentials, and resisters (p. 109)

Stage 3: Adoption

Fortunately, with the adoption phase of 4DX comes a lot of relief:

-teams members adopt the 4DX process
-new behaviors drive the achievement of the WIG
-resistance fades, enthusiasm increases
-team members become accountable for each other (p. 110)

Not so fast! According to McChesney et al. (2012) for a successful adoption of 4DX, team members must:

-focus on the process, then on results
-make commitments and hold each other accountable
-track results on the scoreboard
-make adjustments
-invest in the potentials
-answer issues and clear the path for resisters (p. 110)

Stage 4: Optimization

At the optimization stage, I should expect my team to shift towards a 4DX mindset. But being consistent is important! So according to McChesney et al. (2012) I must:

-encourage and recognize abundant creative ideas for moving the lead measures
-recognize excellent follow-through and celebrate successes
-encourage team member to clear the path for each other and celebrate
-recognize when the potentials become like models (p. 112)

Stage 5: Habits

The most important key to keep in mind during the last phase is to not only formalize 4DX as the operating system, but also to emphasize that the new operating standard is sustained superior performance on lead measures (p. 113). And keep being consistent with the 4DX process!

Influencer versus 4DX

After applying my PBeL initiative to both strategies for influencing change and behavior, I conclude that I prefer the Influencer’s Six Sources of Influence than The 4 Disciplines of Execution. I found 4DX to be a bit more vague in human response towards change and behavior. I would use 4DX to influence one change or behavior at a time. Contrastingly, I could incorporate a few more changes or behaviors to the more meticulous Influencer model.

McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals. New York: Free Press.


One thought on “Installing 4DX with My Team

  1. Pingback: Leading Organization Change – Lifelong Learning in a Changing World

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