The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a technique developed by a team of American consultants to better coach an organization's staff in achieving very important objectives. Focused on execution, the 4DX technique allows the entire organization to focus its efforts on a single priority objective. In addition, it provides all the support needed to coach and motivate staff to successfully achieve this objective in a timely manner.

Watch the video to better understand the basic principles of the technique.

The Scientific Foundations

The technique published in The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) was created by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling in 2012. Among other things, the 4DX technique " disciplines " provides a framework for an organization's efforts to ensure that important organizational objectives are met.

4DX technology

In our multitasking-centric culture, " les neural circuits used for scanning, skimming and multitasking are increasing and strengthening, while those for reading and intense brain work through concentration are decreasing and becoming érodent ," says Clifford Nass, professor at Stanford University.

Due to its constitution, our brain does only one task at a time with concentration. When performing complex or cognitive tasks, it can take up to 15 minutes to get back into context after an interruption. Reducing multitasking and calming the whirlwind of daily activities therefore achieves far better results than trying to achieve all our goals simultaneously.

Scientific experiments have shown that the more you try to achieve different goals, the less successful you are in achieving them properly. Thus, by focusing on a small number of goals at a time, our chances of achieving them increase tenfold.

4DX technology at a glance

In summary, the 4DX technique consists of targeting only one objective at a time, either the most important or the highest priority, in order to focus and achieve better results. The technique consists of 4 " disciplines ", here they are

1. Targeting an important goal (Wildly important goal - Wig)

4 disciplines of execution

By reducing the number of projects to one, energies can be better concentrated. In order to further motivate the troops, the goal must be prioritized and important. Everyone in the organization must see the benefits. Everyone's commitment to this goal is essential. Team members will need to free up about 20% of their time to move the project forward.

2. The definition of significant performance indicators (KPI ) related to this objective

We will then have to define des KPI significant. To be meaningful, KPIs must be easily and frequently measurable. They must also be useful to see the progress of the project. In 4DX, a distinction is made between lead KPIs and lag KPIs. Lead KPIs are the indicators that can be acted upon and that are used to monitor the progress of the objective achievement. An example is the number of bids made. While lag KPIs are organizational indicators of results that cannot be influenced, such as the number of orders received.

3. The measurement and rapid dissemination of KPIs to team members (scoreboard)

The 4DX technique is based on rapid communication of lead indicators to team members, in order to note progress in almost real time. The lead KPI must therefore be easy to measure and available. Setting up a scoreboard to see the progress in real time will help keep team morale high and act in case of slippage.

4. Short, regular, high-priority and productive meetings to ensure the commitment of all team members.

In order to energize the troops, frequent short meetings ensure good communication of progress and problems encountered. All this to quickly reduce the obstacles to the smooth running of the project.

War Council

In essence, the program is aimed at creating a council of war. The objective must be clear to all. The communication plan is paramount. The creation of a dedicated meeting room, called a war zone or red zone, will facilitate the situational awareness of the main actors.

As the objective is paramount, participants must feel the urgency and importance of addressing the problem. They must be involved in providing innovative solutions. Frequent meetings help to maintain focus and create a climate of cooperation.

In a 4DX program, management team members must invest approximately 20% of their time in the program to move the project forward. A good part of the technique is to teach and help participants to free themselves from daily tasks so that they can invest enough time in the success of the project.

Technological support is highly recommended to facilitate the numerous communications, establish a coherent work plan and, above all, divide the project into a multitude of tasks and sub-objectives that will be planned by priorities to avoid slippage.

Why is this important?

The 4DX program is effective and inexpensive to implement to achieve important organizational objectives. It focuses all the organization's energy into a collective and collaborative effort that is positive for the organization. The technique, when used properly, can achieve positive results in a short period of time.