The 4DX method: a productivity model that works

The 4DX method: a productivity model that works

Without execution even the most brilliant strategy is nothing more than a fumbled plan.

So how do you execute on your most important strategic priorities?

The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a strategic system sweeping the nation, and is also the name of Chris McChesney's popular workshop and best-selling book (co-authored by Jim Huling and Sean Covey).

Used by Australia's largest companies, including Coca-Cola Amatil and ANZ, 4DX is a simple, repeatable proven formula to make goals clear and translate strategy into action at all levels of an organisation.

4DX is made up of four key elements:

1. Focus on the Wildly Important

You might find it hard to let go of a lot of good goals until you start serving a greater goal. - Chris McChesney

Of course, it is easy to state that a single focus is the best way to get things done, but when you're in the throes of running a business, managing a crisis or dealing with management, that concept might feel like it is impossible to implement.

You may already feel like you're working towards a single goal - a financial target, a company mission, a percentage of growth - but unless your focus is narrow, you'll never make significant headway. This process leads to determining what McChesney refers to as the Wildly Important Goal (WIG).

McChesney summarises it by identifying the non-negotiable process of determining your start line, finish line and your deadline.

The number one skill required for this? SayingNO.

This may be one of the most difficult challenges for leaders, as they're drawn to new ideas, crave innovation and have a drive to always be optimising and adapting to new trends. The disappointing truth, according to McChesney, is that there will always be more 'good ideas' than capacity to execute them. Learn to say no to anything that isn't serving your WIG and do it fast.

2. Act on the Lead Measures

Discipline number two is all about leverage.

For most teams, because of incentive structures and KPI targets, their focus is on overall results. McChesney warns against this, describing it as like trying to drive forward while staring at the rearview mirror.

The focus, instead, should be on leading outcomes and behaviours, which ultimately drive high performance. Leaders must put a disproportionate amount of energy into this, which will ultimately lead to results.

3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

People play differently when keeping score.

Perhaps you're one of those people who enjoys playing social sports or board games with friends, 'just for the fun of it', but perhaps you also find yourself changing strategy, playing harder and paying more attention to the details once you start keeping score. It's the same in business, and it impacts levels of engagement and ultimately, success.

If you're not keeping score, you're just practicing. - Chris McChesney

4. Create a Cadence of Accountability

We tend to blame people, it's a natural place to go. - Chris McChesney

The fourth discipline is in fact, the most important one, however can only be put in motion once the first three are enacted.

We've stated that people play differently when keeping score, which is to say, when they're responsible and accountable for their own score keeping, they play more effectively. It's about accountability; not to their leaders, but to the themselves and to their peers. Committing to goals that are their own, is key.

People don't execute because it's hard.

Execution requires a change in behaviour in an environment packed with people being pulled in multiple directions with countless priorities and roles. The 4DX systems offers four simple, measurable disciplines that provide focus, clarity and accountability: a productivity model for your company.

To learn from execution expert Chris McChesney and go deep into 4DX, secure a seat to his jam-packed workshop this September. Seize this opportunity to take your business to the next level and start executing with impact. Business News readers save $100.

Tickets available at

This article was written in partnership with The Growth Faculty.

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