Anyone from the smallest business owner to the mightiest corporate boss is sure to learn something incredibly valuable from a new book by three of the global consulting and training industry’s leaders, all FranklinCovey shining stars—Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling. Titled The 4 Disciplines of Execution (aka 4DX), it’s the perfect solution for anyone in business who recognizes that while knowing what you want and need to get done is great, the how is every bit if not more critical.
And yet the how is what stumps most of us most, isn’t it?
In fact, and as the book points out, leaders and teams in virtually any industry, when asked, all say the same thing. Brainstorming and creating strategy is fun, exciting, innovative and challenging, yes. But it’s nowhere near as daunting a task as execution. So why, almost invariably, is the emphasis all too often placed on the former—whether it’s in school, the non-profit sector, big corporations and, yes, even home-based and other small businesses and franchises, not to mention our very own personal lives?
The authors would say the answer to that seemingly elusive question is simple really. It’s because change is largely about people getting something done, or not. As such, according to the book’s authors, our first instinct is to assume it’s the people involved that are the problem when it comes to the inability to execute successfully. They’re just not getting it. Stick with that assumption, and you do so at your own peril, they say.
People, they insist, are not the problem. Rather, you, as a leader, “own the responsibility for the system, which is where the problem really lies” (even if it’s the smallest of operations or simply your own life we’re talking about).
While other books tell success stories that are meant to inspire by touching on the “how-to,” this book goes many steps further in helping you achieve your most “wildly important goals” (or WIG). “With the 4 Disciplines of Execution, you are not experimenting with an interesting theory,” the authors write, “you are implementing a set of proven practices that meet that challenge successfully every time.” And they’ve got the impressive list of references who’ve implemented the program to back up that claim—everything from colleges to non-profits and small companies to the largest corporations.
This book actually walks you through the step-by-step process for implementing the 4 Disciplines, all of which work together to create firmly entrenched and meaningful behavior change with lasting and measurable results. One of its greatest strengths is that its approach pays tremendous attention to the realities of owning and operating a business and works with them as opposed to ignoring them or playing down their importance and impact.
Case in point: The real enemy in all of this is your day job, the authors say. That’s right. They call it the “whirlwind,” aka “the massive amount of energy that’s necessary just to keep your operation going on a day-to-day basis.” It’s that “thing” that makes it “so hard to execute anything new.” The whirlwind “robs you” of your focus and keeps you from moving forward, they write.
Thankfully, 4DX is here to help. Now, this book won’t teach you how to manage your whirlwind; it’s not meant to. Rather, it actually guides you in overcoming distractions so you can begin to take actionable steps for achieving success. Essentially, it lays down the ground “rules for executing your most critical strategy in the midst of your whirlwind.”
And what crazed and over-programmed small business owner couldn’t benefit from that?
The 4 Disciplines of Execution is available online from these fine booksellers, Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble, as well as at your local book retailer and library. Why not pick up a copy today?
Once you do, tell us what you think. We want to hear from you! Did you find it helpful? What challenges do you face every day when it comes to execution? Any tips?