The 4 Disciplines of Execution® (4DX) is a simple, repeatable, and proven formula for executing your most important strategic priorities in the midst of the “whirlwind,”—those daily tasks and responsibilities that can make focusing on goals immensely difficult. By following 4DX, educators and students can produce breakthrough results, even when executing the strategy requires a significant change in behavior from their peers and colleagues.
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 evolving stages of 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 introduced the process of implementing 4DX with staff and students, and 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 your focus and clearly identifying what must be done, because without this necessary perspective, no other achievement really matters. Once a Wildly Important Goal® is established throughout a school, administrators, staff, and students can exert more of their effort toward achieving their most important objective together.
Lead measures track the most impactful things a team must do to reach the goal—new behaviors that will drive success on the “lag measures,” or actions with ramifications difficult to see until it’s time to evaluate growth. A good lead measure has two basic characteristics: it’s inherently predictive for achieving the WIG® and it’s influenceable. The lead measures are then codified into individual actions and tracked with precision.
Engagement is key when it comes to ensuring results. The highest level of performance always comes from people who are emotionally engaged, and from a team that knows the score—if people know whether they are “winning” or “losing” in relation to their WIG. People and teams play differently when they keeping score, and highly visible scoreboards motivate players to win.
Accountability is where execution really happens. The first three disciplines prepare the court, but it’s not until Discipline 4 is applied that the team is ready to play. This discipline is based on the principle of accountability: the idea that unless we consistently hold each other accountable, the goal naturally disintegrates in the “whirlwind.” This cadence of accountability happens when team members check in on one another and discuss their progress in weekly meetings.
The Leadership Notebook® helps students track their personal academic data as well as set goals and consistently track their progress, giving them the ability to “course-correct” at any time. By tracking their progress, students learn to identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as key habits and learning patterns. They can then use this knowledge to develop new goals and practice new skills. Leadership Notebooks also allow students to see growth over time, encouraging them to identify their own learning methods, reinforce a growth mindset, increase their confidence, and develop a sense of ownership for their education.