The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a simple, repeatable, and proven formula for executing on your most important strategic priorities in the midst of the whirlwind. By following 4DX, leaders can produce breakthrough results, even when executing the strategy requires a significant change in behavior from their teams.
4DX is not theory. It is a proven set of practices that have been tested and refined by hundreds of organizations and thousands of teams over many years. When an organization or individual adheres to these disciplines, they achieve superb results-regardless of the goal.
By understanding that the schoolwide goals for increasing achievement have to do with how each individual student makes progress toward their own learning, participants report that students thereby own their learning.
-Dr. Robyn Stella, Gardner-Webb University
During the early stages of evolving the Leader in Me process, integrating 4DX became a breakthrough system for helping Leader in Me Schools achieve measurable results. The Aligning Academics workshop for elementary and middle school introduces the process of implementing 4DX with staff and students. Today, schools from around the world are establishing goals that align key initiatives that target measurable improvements in leadership, culture, and academics.
One of the greatest challenges for any organization is having too many goals. Exceptional execution starts with narrowing the focus— clearly identifying what must be done, or nothing else achieved really matters much. Once a Wildly Important Goal is established throughout a school, administrators, staff, and students can exert more of their effort towards achieving it together.
Lead measures track the most impactful things a team must do to reach the goal — the new behaviors that will drive success on the lag measures. A good lead measure has two basic characteristics: it’s predictive of achieving the goal and influenceable. The lead measures are then codified into individual actions and tracked fanatically.
Discipline 3 is the discipline of engagement. In principle, the highest level of performance always comes from people who are emotionally engaged. And, the highest level of engagement comes from knowing the score — that is, if people know whether they are winning or losing. People and teams play differently when they are keeping score, and highly visible scoreboards motivate players to win.
Discipline 4 is where execution really happens. The first three disciplines set up the game, but until one applies Discipline 4, the team isn’t in the game. It is based on the principle of accountability: that unless we consistently hold each other accountable, the goal naturally disintegrates in the Whirlwind. The cadence happens when team members hold each other accountable regularly in a weekly meeting.
A Leadership Notebook helps students track their academic data, and to set goals and consistently track progress on those goals, giving them the ability to “course-correct” at any time. By tracking progress, students learn to identify patterns of strengths and challenges, and use this knowledge to develop new goals. Leadership Notebooks allow students to see growth over time. As this occurs, they gain knowledge of themselves as learners, reinforce a growth mindset, increase their confidence, and develop a sense of ownership for their learning.