BSE Insights – 4DX Discipline & Execution

BSE Insights – 4DX Discipline & Execution

BSE Insights – 4DX Discipline & Execution

4 Disciplines of Execution

Strategy vs. Execution

Arjun Kumar

Director of Business Development

October 21, 2021

We often get asked by companies we work with: “how can we do a better job at executing our strategies?” Changing the execution-style in your business is problematic because it requires businesses to think differently. There are four simple, but not simplistic, disciplines businesses can follow to transform their business. 


4DX Frame Work 

The “Four Disciplines of Execution” (4DX) consists of 4 steps, and at first glance, it seems simple. However, in the very simplicity, the manner of execution becomes a predominant factor.

The Four Disciplines: 

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important
  2. Act on Leading Measures
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability

Thinking Differently to Execute

Implementation of the four disciplines requires managers and teams to shift how they view and move toward goals fundamentally; this is the first step on the path to change where most organizations fail. Stepping outside one’s perspective is a difficult task in the best of times, a nearly impossible one when bounded by day-to-day priorities. This is where the role of a 4DX consultant comes in. Having a third-party guide gives you an outside perspective not limited by internal biases and helps to keep organizations on the planned path to change. 

Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important 

Many goals need to be accomplished in any project that leads to the desired outcome. The key to the first discipline is to take all of those goals, identify which ones will have the most impact, and focus on one or two of them only. Narrowing focus on just a few goals might seem counterintuitive when looking at the broad scope of a project; however, the truth is that when we focus on too many items, none of them get the attention they need. Continued focus on one or two wildly important goals makes your team more effective. 

Discipline 2: Act on Leading Measures

Discipline 2 is the discipline of leverage – using what you have most effectively. Most industries use lagging measures to determine the success or failure of any program/campaign/project and then afterward try to determine how they ended up there. The second discipline asks managers to change that and instead start measuring the activities that lead to results. 

Pareto’s Principle: 20% of our actions tend to yield 80% of our results. 

Discipline 2 is problematic because it asks management to put a disproportionate focus on the outcomes of seemingly small behaviors and shift the timelines being measured. Instead, it requires managers to define daily or weekly measures, the achievement of which will lead to the desired goal.

How effective is your online shopping tool? Sales & Service IQ is here and changing how dealers and customers interact. 

Discipline 3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

Teams play differently when there’s a tangible scoreboard. “People perform best when they are emotionally engaged,” the highest level of which comes when they know the score: regardless of whether they are winning or losing. 

Yes, it is that simple.

The lag or lead measures from Discipline 2 are meaningless to a team unless they have a means of tracking their progress in real-time. The key here is that the scoreboard needs to be tailored to the team members, not management. Keeping the board simple and easy to understand will give you engagement. 

Discipline 4: Create a Cadence of Accountability

The cadence of accountability is a rhythm of regular and frequent team meetings that focus on the wildly important goal. These meetings happen weekly, sometimes daily at the team level, and should be no more than 20 minutes. In that brief time, team members hold each other accountable for commitments made to move the score constructively. The trick is never to skip them.

Ultimately this is the most crucial step in 4DX: the fourth discipline establishes the process and ties together the first three steps by creating a culture of accountability. Each team engages in a simple process that highlights successes and analyzes failures. The fourth step is a challenging discipline for dealers because we have to take valuable time off the floor to review our accountability. 

Why 4DX? 

There are two primary reasons execution is complex:

It requires people to change their behavior!

  1. You are enacting change in a whirlwind of other urgent priorities

The Four Disciplines of Execution overcome both by helping to ingrain a culture of execution without having to put aside the day-to-day priorities. It is four steps that any organization can enact with a bit of help. Once in play, 4DX can help companies grow organically. 

BSE Consultants can help you take the first step by working with your team to establish these principles, find the critical leading measurements, and create the accountability framework.

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