The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling

(Joe Buhlig) #1

This seems to be one of those books that everyone loves and yet I’ve never read it. So I’d like to know what all the hype is about.

(Justin DiRose) #2

This seems relevant to certain things I’m struggling with right now, so I’d totally read along with this one.

(Joe Buhlig) #3

I’m breaking the tie here. Mostly because I want to overlap with Bookworm. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

This will be our first Book Club book! Expect the conversation to start on Sept. 1! So pick up the book and we’ll get started.

(Josh Rensch) #4

Damn you @joebuhlig… now I must buy a new book!!!

(Joe Buhlig) #5

Is this a bad thing? :wink:

(Josh Rensch) #6


Most have not been read.

(Wilson Ng) #7

Lol. That’s what my spare bedroom looked like until 8 years ago. I used to frequent the bookstore and add to my bookshelf much to the dismay of my wife. Lots of unread books but it sure made me look smart when visitors would drop by. They thought I was a well read man :sunglasses:.

Seven years ago, we were blessed with a second child. But that meant I had to declutter. The bookshelf was getting in the way. Lots of dusting and had to make room as my first daughter wanted her own bedroom. I donated most of my books to the local library and kept a few favorites. It was mostly technical manuals and sentimental favorites that I kept. I also had to keep some books that were out of print and unavailable in ebook form. I have been lucky to replace most of my books via Kindle or iBookstore.

Nowadays, if I find a book, it will be a digital version. If I really love a book, I will get a hard copy. I miss paper books sometimes. But I love decluttering more. The anxiety of looking at a nightstand with a stack of unread books no longer affects me :scream:.

(Joe Buhlig) #8

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(Joe Buhlig) #9

The book club choice for September 2017 is 4DX!

Since this is our first round for the book club, be sure to check out how the club works.

Questions about the book:

  1. Of the four disciplines, which one is likely to be your downfall and what are you planning to do about it?

  2. What’s your WIG (Wildly Important Goal)?

  3. Were there any quotes that stood out to you?

  4. Would you recommend this to a friend?

(Joe Buhlig) #10

I’ve not started reading this month’s book yet but I do have a process of looking through a book and getting my first impressions out of the way. So here goes:

Looking at the cover, I would assume I’ll really like this one. With a name like “Covey” on the cover, “#1 Bestseller” accolades, and “NYT Bestselling Author” plastered all over, it’s hard to imagine not liking it. With all of that in place it has to be good, right?

The one piece about the cover that makes me nervous is the name “Clayton Christensen.” I had a rough experience with Innovator’s Dilemma over on Bookworm.

I rarely read through all the reviews inside the front cover, but it is interesting to see how many they have here. Again, it’s hard to see how I wouldn’t like it.

It’s always good to note the publish date on books like this. In this case, it’s 2012. Nothing special stands out about that to me. But it’s helpful to note the timeframe and remember what I was doing at that time.

Looking through the TOC, I assume I’ll be reading about specific habits I need to install in my life. And to go with that are the methods of installing those habits. But there’s also the methods for installing them into an organization. I’m hoping there’s some form of “why” at the beginning of this to pull it all together.

Two things I noted when thumbing through it:

  1. I see lots of diagrams. That makes me happy. :blush:
  2. I’m also seeing QR codes. I ran tracking on some of those at one point. It was crazy low numbers like 0.01% of people who received these things actually use them. :roll_eyes:

Every time I see tons of positive reviews and a lot of accolades I tend to assume it’s a good book but there’s also this little voice in the back of my mind that is very hesitant to follow the crowd. Which means I’m likely to be on the lookout for BS. :upside_down_face:

(Joe Buhlig) #11

I wrapped up reading this a couple days ago and found it to be well worth the time. So here’s my answers to the questions posted above:

Of the four disciplines, which one is likely to be your downfall and what are you planning to do about it?

Likely Accountability. That has more to do with a lack of a team than anything else. This is one of the difficulties of going solopreneur. You have to find folks to connect with to bounce ideas off. This likely the reason I’ve poured a lot of time into Theoretical.

What’s your WIG (Wildly Important Goal)?

After spending a decent amount of time thinking it through, this is what I landed on:

Achieve 100 Pro Guild members by Dec. 31.

The Guild is a place I want to spend more time and energy. But that means it has to get to a point that helps me pay the bills at the same time. I have my lead measures figured out for this which mostly revolve around the concept of “perennial” video courses. I’ll likely wrap up the Alfred course but after that I want to work out the harder, real-life struggles with productivity and build videos around those.

Were there any quotes that stood out to you?

The real enemy of execution is your day job! We call it the whirlwind. It’s the massive amount of energy that’s necessary just to keep your operation going on a day-to-day basis; and, ironically, it’s also the thing that makes it so hard to execute anything new. The whirlwind robs from you the focus required to move your team forward.

Oh, whirlwind. How I love and hate you. :tornado:

Would you recommend this to a friend?

Absolutely! I already have a handful of times. :+1:

(Wilson Ng) #12

Of the four disciplines, which one is likely to be your downfall and what are you planning to do about it?
Accountability is tough for me because I’m also running a family business. But I’ll try something different and choose “measuring leading measure and lagging measures.” They look almost the same and it takes some experimenting to determine what are the leading measures to use. It is a little frustrating when I’ve been chasing the wrong measures. Playing around, thinking outside the box, and talking to friends will probably help me figure out the right leading measures so that I can accurately solve a WIG.

What’s your WIG (Wildly Important Goal)? Automating the Christmas season retail workflow and improving sales rep customer service skills by November 1st.

Right now, our retail shop just got in our Christmas 2017 shipment. While I am helping with my workers to unload the shipping container and get the sales floor ready, I’m also trying to document a workflow that will automate things even when I’m not around. I worry about getting sick and unable to help. I’ll need my wife and some of my subordinates to help cover things if an emergency happens.

Automating things will hopefully ensure consistent quality service. I can see sales drop because the sales people will sometimes say “let me call the boss.” I need some type of manual or documentation that will help them make quality decisions to improve sales hits. I need to get this accomplished hopefully on or before November 1st so that I have time to review and tweak the workflow documentation.

Were there any quotes that stood out to you?

In the end, it’s the data on lead measures that makes the difference, that enables you to close the gap between what you know your team should do and what they are actually doing. Without lead measures, you are left to try to manage to the lag measures, an approach that seldom produces significant results.

Would you recommend this to a friend?
Yes, I would. The scoreboard is essential in knowing where we stand and how much we’ve accomplished. Many of us tend to forget that we need the scoreboard to hold ourselves accountable and make sure we’re all working towards the same goals.

Thankfully there are enough business case studies to help me figure out the leading and lagging measures part.

Other observations
It does feel like it reinforces some of the things I’ve learned from The 12 week year book. The scoreboard, accountability, lead I and, lag indicators are some of the concepts shared by the 12 week year and 4DX. There’s been quite a lot of goals-oriented books. The 4DX book does have the powerful backing of the Covey Group which gives the practices in the book a lot of credibility.

If you couldn’t quite wrap your head around the 12 week year, give 4DX a try. Sometimes a different perspective is needed.

(Joe Buhlig) #13

Do you have numbers around this? You don’t need to share them here, but I would think you could quantify this somehow to enable the scoreboard bit.

I thought the same thing. It felt very similar. Maybe that just means it’s a really great way to do things. :wink: But the interesting thing to me was that 4DX doesn’t nail down an exact timeframe whereas 12WY has it built into the name. That made me wonder about timeframes and their importance. But I think once I get through all the reflection points I realize that the timeframe is great. You just adjust how far you want/need to go in your goal to fit the timeframe realistically.

(Wilson Ng) #14

That’s where the testing comes in to see if I have the right lead and lag measures. Still a work in progress. I’m not sure but I’m thinking a customer survey form to get an extra 10% discount on the next visit as enticement. Then check customer survey form results, still trying to figure it out before Christmas.

Many of my projects don’t last the whole 12 weeks. I’m thinking 12 week year is geared towards the bigger, ambitious goals while 4DX can scale up or down. But I guess I tend to break things down into smaller, digestable projects. I leave the Big thinking to the wife.

(Andy Williams) #15

I had this book on my list for a while before it became mandatory reading for work. Overall I think it’s a good system but I think it’s easily abused. The WIG quickly turns into something extra that’s bolted onto your day instead of the most important thing you have to do.

I working for a big corporation and we got re-orged into a group who used 4DX very successfully last year to reduce the total minutes impacted by outages by a giant amount, like 60%. Their results using 4DX and the tool were so good that one of the authors came to the year end 4DX summit they held and spoke for free.

We’re attempting to follow along with their goal this year but it very quickly became yet another thing to manage that really wasn’t that important. I’m supposed to be implementing it for my team but honestly it isn’t the wildly important goal if I’m putting off the weekly WIG meetings.

I’m currently reading 12WY which makes much more sense to me, especially for personal planning and development. The element of 4DX I might steal and include into 12WY is the concept of a scoreboard (unless I missed it…). It would be nice to see a compelling scoreboard of how I’m doing on my 12WY goals and maybe a burndown on the tactics and time left.

(Joe Buhlig) #16

My sense is that any time a company suggests or requires a book to be read, it comes across wrong almost every time. You can’t help the feeling that they want you to do something different or do more. In some cases that’s not a bad thing but in a lot of cases it’s almost insulting.

Does that mean the goal is wrong or do you mean there’s too much of the Whirlwind taking over?

The 12WY process doesn’t have a scoreboard. And I’m with you that it’s a very helpful piece of the puzzle, at least for me it is. So I stole it. :wink: I like the terminology that 4DX has given me with goals (i.e. whirlwind, scoreboard, WIG, etc…) but the process is very similar to 12WY. I like having read both of them, but have created a bit of a mish-mash between them.

(Andy Williams) #17

It definitely felt that way, now that it was mandatory it was implying that I better do this and that always gets my hackles up.

A little of both - our priorities on this team shift so quickly that it just really isn’t the most important thing. I think the flaw there was trying to do the trickle down 4DX goal from on high and then adapt that so it was relevant to our group. That diluted it in such a way that it just isn’t worth doing.

Definitely a fan of the mish-mash - guess it’s time to write a book Joe!

(Joe Buhlig) #18