Andy Grove, founder of Intel, was talking to one of the authors of The 4 Disciplines of Execution (“4DX”). He said, “I know what I need to do, I just don’t know how to do it.” Many business owners have strategic plans – they know what to do. They just don’t know how to get them accomplished. Over the past few articles, I’ve described the first three disciplines of 4DX, Focus on one Wildly Important Goal (“WIG”), Act on Lead Measures, and Keep a Compelling Scoreboard.
The last discipline is probably the most important and is what ties the first three disciplines together – Create a Cadence of Accountability. Most people think of accountability as the manager holding their subordinates accountable for reaching some goal. In 4DX, “accountability on the team is shared. We make commitments and then we’re accountable to our boss, but more important, to each other, for following through.” The idea is that individuals and team members will hold one another accountable for accomplishing what we say we’ll do.
The team must meet at least weekly in a WIG session to review commitments from the previous week, review the scoreboard to learn from successes and failures, and make commitments for the following week. Each person is held accountable for their actions by the team, not the boss. These weekly WIG sessions should have an agenda and last no more than 30 minutes. They should be held every week on the same date and time, so everyone on the team can participate the meeting.
To prepare for the meeting, every team member should consider this question: “What can I do this week to impact the lead measures?” If complex issues are raised that need to be addressed, separate meetings should be held so that the focus of the weekly can remain on the WIG.
By creating a cadence of accountability, team members will focus some attention every week on the Wildly Important Goal, and not just the whirlwind – the day to day activities that devour our time. As the authors state, “Without the steady rhythm of accountability of Discipline 4, there will always be things the team members know they should do, but never actually do with real consistency.”
So, are you ready to move your business forward? Already have a great plan but can’t seem to get beyond the whirlwind? Implement the 4 Disciplines and see the impact on your business.
I am a contributing writer to the Evansville Buisness Journal. This article was recently published.