Last week I went to see Chris McChesney’s workshop on the 4 Disciplines of Execution (run by The Growth Faculty).

I absolutely LOVED learning more about the art of execution based on Chris’s 18 years studying the topic, and most importantly hands on experience working with thousands of businesses.

The art of execution is executing on the wildly important goals in the middle of a 100 mile an hour whirlwind

My top takeaways were:

• Simplicity and transparency are the best friends of execution

• Create an 80/20 rule for managing your time between the “whirlwind” (80%) which is everyday business and “wildly important goals” (20%)

• The “wildly important goals” are what need focus as without it they will not happen due to the whirlwind. They are a way to focus your discretionary energy.

• Research has showed if there are 2 – 3 goals the probability of success is very high, any further goals will reduce the chance of success.

• Execution doesn’t like complexity, keep it simple.

• Each team should have 1 Wildly Important Goal + the whirlwind. This shows the part each team has in the bigger game.

• Increased engagement was an unexpected finding of the 4 Disciplines of execution approach.


The 4 disciplines are

1) Discipline 1: Focus

Example: Pick 2 -3 goals that are the “fewest battles needed to win the war”. Each goal needs to have a start, end, and timeline eg increase profit from 10% to 15% by 31st December 2020.

2) Discipline 2: Leverage

Example: With limited time and resources the key to success is leverage. Act on lead measures not lag measures. Lead measures must be predictive and influenceable.

3) Discipline 3: Engagement

Example: Allow the team to pick their 1 goal that is in addition to the whirlwind and will contribute to the overall WIG (do not dictate the goal).

Ensure that it is a winnable game to drive engagement. Keep a highly visible scoreboard as people play differently when they are keeping score.

4) Discipline 4: Accountability 

Example: Create a cadence of accountability. In weekly WIPs ask what the 1 activity that can be done to impact the lead measure, check progress on previous weeks commitment, update the scoreboard and set new commitments.

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