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The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  5,469 ratings  ·  454 reviews
The 4 Disciplines of Execution is a book every leader should read.” —Clayton Christensen, Professor, Harvard Business School, and author of The Innovator’s Dilemma

For fans of Good to Great and The First 90 Days, The Four Disciplines of Execution is the foundational text for creating lasting organizational change. A #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller with more than 500,000
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Free Press (first published October 1st 2011)
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Steve Hmmm, I thought his father's 7 Habits book was overtaken many years ago. Sean's books, whilst popular, have worthwhile competition. For example, Antho…moreHmmm, I thought his father's 7 Habits book was overtaken many years ago. Sean's books, whilst popular, have worthwhile competition. For example, Anthony Robbins, Earl Nightingale, Dale Carnegie (old but still relevant), Napoleon Hill and many more. It might pay to check out a few alternatives...(less)

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Feb 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
“It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.”
- Albert Camus


Probably somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars. First, full disclosure: I went to a private school in Provo, UT with several of Stephen R. Covey's kids. Not Sean Covey. He was older, but one or two of his younger brothers. My wife also worked for the Covey Leadership Center (and later FranklinCovey after the merger) while I was finishing college. I am very familiar with the FranklinCovey business model (coul
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Update 2017: I have used this approach in real life and it worked. I presented the issue, other team members proposed solutions, we agreed on measurable leading indicators, tallied our progress visually, and that focused our actions, making a huge difference in helping us achieve our goal. So I am bumping this up to 5*.

Original review 2012: The 4DX approach makes sense in the context of general principles of behavior change, because it gets groups of people working step by step toward meaningful
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
WILDLY IMPORTANT GOALS! "We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret" Jim Rohn as quoted in this short video synopsis of 4DX:

Gets technical toward the end, but for the most part it was an interesting read and I see its potential for improving many different environments: at work, or in a non-profit organization, or even in family, and individual lives.
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at just the right time. I was just starting to try Elance to get freelance projects, and I noticed that whenever I was feeling apathetic or low, instead of getting on Facebook or whatever, I'd find myself writing proposals! Why??? It took me a while to figure out, but I realized that the number and dollar amount of proposals I'd submitted each week was the only thing I was tracking visibly and giving myself credit for doing. That observation primed me to embrace everything ...more
I will need to re-read this in more depth and follow through on the links to case studies and other resources found embedded in this ebook. I read through it at lightning speed so I could at least intelligently discuss the concepts with my upper management where I work.

I gave it four stars, but really would probably hone that in to 3.5 stars. That may change as I put these disciplines into play.
Nov 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
As sales pitches go, The 4 Disciplines of Execution ain’t bad. McChesney, Covey, and Huling – the deputized writing arms of the FranklinCovey hivemind – put together a lucid, readable plan that’s sensible enough to seem practical while being acronym-stuffed and slick enough to appeal to upper management looking for the Next Big Thing in organizational fads.

If I seem cynical, it’s more from having spent more than a decade in management having my cheese moved and my teams de-dysfunctioned than fro
Steve Tannuzzo
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on goal planning and execution I've ever read. It takes time to decide on what is most important to focus on (and it's often not what you'd expect). I sometimes have to work in teams and collectively that can lead to distraction and important deadlines falling through the cracks. The work required to achieve what they call a WIG (wildly important goal) takes regular focus, a scorecard and weekly accountability check-ins.

You know when people say, "That book changed my life"
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: throw this book away
Recommended to William by: my boss
Shelves: non-fiction, business
4DX is better than YABR (Yet Another Business Religion) books that I've read. The approach is simple enough to actually be usable in an organization and it directly addresses what I think is the problem with all YABRs, follow through. I like that the authors discuss the "whirlwind" or daily business tasks that consume us all and indicate upfront that unless the managers (me and my boss) are willing to block out time to deal with our WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) the whole things will fall apart. ...more
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
4DX (as it is known by the hip and cool) is one of the best books on managing execution that i have ever read. we are spared the history, philosophy, and emotions of management and shown a method that the authors have demonstrated to work in many companies around the world. the book is a simple, but powerful, read. many of the points in the book are so obvious that i thought to myself, "Well, i know that already"...but i also had to acknowledge that i am not doing anything with the knowledge if ...more
André Gomes
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, management
I enjoyed the reading. I was easy and quick, and I had lots of insights.

Interesting many of the ideias presented in the book are aligned with what we already do in Agile Software Development.

I've also prepared a talk to my team about this book, here is the slides (in portuguese)
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I had to read this for work. It was fine? It was fine.
Anders Brabaek
Jun 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
“The 4 disciplines of execution” is a process for achieving your most “wildly important goals” (WIGs) by applying four disciplines;
Discipline 1 is about setting the target
Discipline 2 is about identifying activities which most efficiently pursue the Wildly Important Goal. This is divided between “lead measures” and “lag measures”;
- Lead measures are the actions which affect the goal
- Lag measures is the measurements of the outcome
A key message of the book is that we need to focus more on lead me
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Practical, realistic, intellectually simple and yet grueling to make it happen.. as most endeavors in the corporate world seems to me.
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-reviews
Developed and promoted by FranklinCovey, The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) provides hands-on, practical tools to help a company drive its primary goals even in the middle of the daily "whirlwind" of work. All too often, leadership training follows a strategic course, with little to no practical application. You have all of these great ideas to improve your business—but how do you actually put them to work? This book is FranklinCovey's response and answer. The Four Disciplines are:
• Focusing o
Antoinette Perez
I'm not sure why I didn't read this book sooner. It's been referenced so often recently I felt like there must be a reason, so I finally read it. The Covey organization used The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) with their own clients for years, refining their approach and collecting anecdotes and success stories along the way. I always feel better when there are real life businesses being cited.

The majority of key concepts make sense, like:
* Teams, even work teams, like to win.
* Business initiat
Evan Hoekzema
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book intimidated me from the outset, it took me a long time to get through. Now on the back side of it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. I’ve read time management and goal setting books in the past but this is the first one I’ve read on driving goal-setting for a team. I love the four rules they describe and how they work together. I’m excited to define our team’s first WIG, lead measures, scoreboard and accountability session. It’s simple, yet proven. Great book!
Daniel Taylor
Goals cannot be set and forget, to achieve them you need to get the right things done. Goals are the "what", but what stops many from being achieved is the "how." Sean Covey's latest book teaches the "how."

The 4 Disciplines, when described seem simple. And to understand them is simple, but they are not simplistic. Discipline 1 is Focus on the Wildly Important. Discipline 2 is Act on the Lead Measures. Discipline 3 is Keep a Compelling Scoreboard. Discipline 4 is Create a Cadence of Accountabilit
May 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-loan
I'll start off by saying I am probably not the target audience for this book. It was a goodreads recommendation based on business books I have read in the past. It was an odd recommendation, because most business books I read have a focus on people and building great corporate culture (i.e. Conscious Capitalism, The Decoded Company). This was more directed to strictly numbers/results/profit-oriented types. I would say this is most valuable for people who are in the higher echelons of their compa ...more
Michael Bodekaer
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book.
We leverage OKRs a lot, so much of this we already have working really well in our teams.
However I did find the Lag vs Lead measures to be really great! Something I'm reflecting a lot about how for the next quarters of goal setting.
Basically, we must understand what "leads" to success in a goal, and not what "showed" success (lag measure).

If you're already using OKRs a lot, I'd greatly advice reading the chapter in this book on Lead Measures. Great insight and incredibly useful for g
Patti Bosworth
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am currently reading this book. Originally, it was recommended to me by our CFO and leader of our department. It is a wonderful resource for members of a team to use to help identify and then work towards achieving those "wildly important goals." Although I began reading this as a "work-related" book, I can definitely see goal setting/achieving techniques that can be applied to my personal and home life goals. It's a keeper on the bookshelf; something to refer to again and again when the whirl ...more
Russell Chance
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Overall this was a very insightful book. I think most business people will readily identify with the concept of the "whirlwind" and the associated frustration of not being able to focus on the activities that you know will move your business forward. While I'm sure undertaking a full implementation of 4DX would lead to good results, business leaders would be wise to at least grab a hold of the concept of "less is more" when it comes to executing on your goals.

I highly recommend this book for an
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have to say, this is one of the best books I've read in a while. The stories, while too simplistic at times, are very relevant and apply to almost any environment. I fought the urge to immediately try to utilize 4DX and opted instead to buy a copy of the book for others on my team. I'm hoping this book provides them with as much excitement and clarity as it did me. I cant wait to put the principles in action. It's well worth the read.
Robson Castilho
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership, business
Great approach to get your goals done (professional AND personal ones).

There are some similarities with "Agile": the scoreboard, the WIG sessions purpose and structure... (if you never heard about Agile, it's a philosophy originated from software development industry and you really should read about it!).

I expect 4DX helps me achieve my goals (I'll give it a try for sure).

As a negative point of the book, it is too long for the main idea, so it all starts to repeat over and over....
Robert Chapman
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a short and value packed book. Thing I loved most about this book was the concept and associated explanation of lead and lag measures, and how they impact achieving goals.

I've read a lot of leadership and development books, but I have to say this one gave me renewed clarity at a vital time. I highly recommend this book.
Lea Elizabeth Ludwig
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
We read this book on our team at work. There are two concepts that will stay with me:

1-Beware of the "whirlwind" .... The day to day urgent activities that prevent you from working on your true strategy

2-WIG... The wildly important goals that you should put your daily energy into

I recommend this book for helping people who want to stay focused, accomplished and organized !
Jul 28, 2012 is currently reading it
After reading how important execution is in several recent business titles, finally a book that explains exactly how to execute.
Joseph Young
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Through simple techniques, this book has already helped me in the workplace. I hope to apply these principles in further areas of work and other goal setting.
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Worth a try, for sure.
deleted d
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
set specific goals
use accountability
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really great ideas. Trying to figure out how to apply them to my team with scattered foci will be challenging but I think it can work. Definitely worth reading.
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