The Four Discipline of Execution (Stephen R Covey)
Introduction and Overview
Leader make a difference in great organization, In today’s global knowledge based world, the called for greatness is greater than ever before, sustainable financial performance , intense customer loyalty, a winning culture and a distinctive contribution in a marketplace, all hallmark of truly great organization.
Great organizations are created by great leaders, leaders who kind of list the highest and best contribution of their team through their organization’s most critical priority. Every organization and every leader are aspired to greatness. But why the only few achieved it, the problem is that many leaders rely on an old school approaches to leadership. Great leaders not only see the world differently, they do think differently. Executing the strategic goal is the greatest challenge in business today; aligning the organization with the most important objective is a never ending battle. In addition keeping people engaged and focus on a top goal is critical, Imagine an organization where all employees are totally focus on the most important priority and committed to achieving the wildly important goal. 70 percent of strategic failures are due to poor of execution of leadership, it is rarely for lack of smart or vision.
All organization are composed in individuals, unless you got individual work align to the organization top priority, organizational goal would not be achieved. The reason why most people never reach their goal is they don’t define them. Franklincovey research show, execution break down in four ways:
- People and team don’t know the goal, either there are too many goals or the goals are not clear.
- People and team don’t know what to do to achieve the goal, in other word the goals are goals, are not translated into day to day activities.
- People and team don’t keep score; few people can tell at any moment if they are on track to achieve the thing that really matter and are critical to their organization’s success.
- People and team don’t account for result, people don’t account to each other for progress on the most important goal, almost workers have most choices and more technology than ever before, very few know how to filter it, and through all the competing priority they received and flawlessly executed the most important priority.
Strategic and Executions
Two things a leader has influences over when it comes to getting result:
o Strategy: What do you want to accomplish? How do you accomplish?
o Execution: Ability to execute that strategy.
Why Execution of the strategy become a big problem? Because we got a sort of barrier to change social behavior and sometimes the leaders start to playing a role and screwing up an execution. The more a leader is in love with a strategy the greater the lag we had that the leader will underestimate difficulty associating with the strategy. Actually, the four breakdowns are basic, important but not common because we got distraction, multitasking, and a lot of thing going on in a same time.
In every organization there is an inherent conflict between two forces, on one side we have the day job, and the other side we have the goal for moving the organization forward. The nature of the day job is urgent and the nature of the goal is important, and when an urgency and importance clash urgency will triumph importance every time. It is very critical for a leader to draw a hard-line between the goal and the day job. The fundamental challenge with execution is not achieving a goal, but achieving the goal in a myth of day to day job. Here 4 discipline that principle and sequential:
Discipline 1: Focus on a Wildly Important Goal (WIG).
Focus on WIG means you have to narrow your focus down to 1, 2, 3 most important goal you must achieved. The difference between important goal and WIG is:
– Important goal: a goal with significant consequences and value.
– Wildly Important Goal: A goal that make all the difference. Failure to achieve this goal renders any others achievement inconsequential.
Focus diligently and intensely on only few crucial goal (3 maximum), because if you keep adding goal as WIG, the probability of achieving them plunges steeply. Juggle five goals at once and you only a 33 percent chance of getting excellent results.
|Number of goals||1-3||4-10||11-20|
|Goals achieved with excellence||1-3||1-2||0|
3 goal or fewer, not for the whole entity but per team, and then build relationship between them. Put that in a day-to-day job because if you tell people to focus and you don’t acknowledge the day job you are going to frustrated them. Next draw a Finish line, how do you know you’ve won? X-> Y by when. X where you are today, Y where you need to be, by when define the finish line (ex: Increase Customer Satisfaction Index from 80[X] to 85[Y] this quartal [When]).
Discipline 2: Act on the lead measure.
What is lead measure? After you’ve narrowed your focus to the few key goals you must accomplish, you need to select a few activities that are predictive of goal achievement and then you can influence in a weekly bases. These lead measures are the 20/80 activities there is 80 percent of the result come from 20 percent of these activities, the 80/20 rule is also known as the pareto principle. Here is the difference between lag measure and lead measure:
|Lag Measure||Lead Measure|
|Measure a goal achievement.||Predict a goal achievement.|
|Harder to influence.||Easier to influence.|
|Easy to measure.||Harder to measure.|
Lead measure characteristics:
Case study: Reduce lost time injuries this year from 12 to 0 by compliance 8 safety standard. 0 is lag measure and compliance 8 safety standard is lead measure.
Lead measures are not guarantee, they are bets. And the bad news is people always focus on lag measure because lag measure darn important and easy to get.
Discipline 3: Keep a compelling scoreboard.
The fact is people play a lot differently when they are keeping score. People will disengage from a goal when they don’t know the score or if they feel they can not influence the score. So, scoreboard ensures that people have the same understanding of goals. Once you define your team measures, turn these into a compelling scoreboard that is:
– Motivating: Tell if we are winning, where we are and where we should be.
– Simple: Can tell within 5 second if we are winning.
– Updateable: Can be updated easily.
– Complete: Both lead and lag measure included.
– Accessible: The whole team can see it easily and often.
– The rule of score board it’s got to tell me am I winning.
Discipline 4: Create a cadence of accountability.
Cadence of accountability is rhythm of team based engagement in accountability, maintaining commitment to the goal requires frequent team accountability. Traditional staff meeting won’t suffice; you need a better process for engaging the team and reporting on results. On 20 minutes meeting, no more than 20 minutes, report what are 1, 2 or 3 things that your team could do this week, what could your team accomplish this week and would have the biggest impact on the scoreboard. Just triage reporting, scoreboard review, follow-through, success celebrated. You never know if you got a good strategic or bad until you execute it.
The 4 discipline of execution is a process that every team in every organization can use to help focuses on and execute the top priority, without such a process success becomes a matter of change and unpredictable factor.