The 4 Disciplines of Execution

Execution of ideas/goals makes the real difference.  Any one can set goals and objectives but when it comes to implementation, it is totally a different game.   You might have seen excellent concepts being converted into highly visible projects and later the project being cancelled or product being shelved.  Its all how you execute.  As Will Weider said in his blog – I am surrounded by people with good ideas.  I need more people that implement them well.

I just finished another audio book by Stephen R. Covey – The 4 Disciplines of Execution.  This book talks about prioritized goals and how to achieve results with excellence.  It is important that team is involved in the development of important goals and methodology of measuring the goals.  The best ideas come not from the leaders, but from the interaction of the leaders and the front line. These are 4 disciplines –

Discipline 1 – Focus on the wildly important (goals) 
Discipline 2 – Create a compelling scoreboard
Discipline 3 – Translate lofty goals into specific actions
Discipline 4 – Hold each other accountable – all of the time.


In this book, Jennifer Colosimo gives workshop style lessons and points out that Human beings are wired to do only one thing at a time with excellence.

Discipline 1 – Focus on the wildly important (goals) – Work with your team and boss to have well crafted goals (that make sense) and can be measured against some deadline.  At high level, goals should be aligned with organization’s corporate strategy.

Discipline 2 – Create a compelling scoreboardPeople play differently when they’re keeping score.  Scoreboard should reflect three things – where are we now; where we want to be; and when do we need to be there.  These three points should be communicated visually.  It enables us to track progress and  make corrective actions, if we get off-track.

Discipline 3 – Translate lofty goals into specific actions – What do we do all about goals to achieve them?  To achieve goals you’ve never achieved before, you need to start doing things you’ve never done before.  It is Goal Breakdown Structure i.e. breaking the goals down to specific actions.  We need to employ creative new and better thinking process to break goals into specific actions of weekly bite-size chunks.

Discipline 4 – Hold each other accountable – all of the time – It is level of mutual accounting and knowing other are counting on you raises your level of commitment.  It requires that team stay engaged and aware of results being achieved.

Have a wonderful day!

Reference – The 4 Disciplines of Execution, Stephen R. Covey and Jennifer Colosimo

Categories: I.T., Leadership, Management, Productivity, Project, Self Help, Training, Workplace

12 replies

  1. I love it when people quote me. Thanks for the exposure and thanks for the great summary of Covey’s 4 disciplines of execution. I plan to share this with my executive teams.


  2. Will, thank you for stopping by. I would be very interested to know your thoughts and experience on transforming ideas into execution. What are the barriers you have overcome?

  3. yep, loved the audiobook.

    took the training

    will apply it to my organization

  4. Is the “The Four Disciplines of Execution” only in audio? Is there a hard copy?

    • Checked, it says print edition is out of stock. I would google it and see if or has in stock. Someone must have it or try calling Covey’s office.

  5. More and more, I’m liking the Stephen Covey material for students as young as age 6, all the way up to our college kids in preparing them for the real world. Thanks for this great overview… I’m going to order the book today!

  6. Beautifully explained – still applicable – gotta’ do it!

  7. I completed The 4 Disciplines of Execution training. The absolute best session I have had throughout all of my corporate training. A must buy for anyone wanting to transform their business.

  8. There is the new version of the 4 Discipines with some changes onto the 4 Disciplines:
    Discipline 1 – Focus on the Wildly Important Goals – Same principles
    Discipline 2 – Act on the Lead Measure – identify the high leverage activities; using the 80/20 Paretto Rule, that if acted upon will influence or bring the WIGs to reality.
    Discipline 3 – Create a Compelling Scoreboard
    Discipline 4 – Hold Each other Accountable.

  9. I took the training. and combined with Balanced Score Card. It works. The company going beter and better.

    fully recommended.


  10. those 4 diciplines are real great hand-on realities. It works along with proper attitude and commitment. please add the 5th dicipline – trust in God. no body knows the future for sure; but God knows. so be it then

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