The 4 Disciplines of Execution is a book about how to make goals and then actually achieve them. Like many of you, the Fourscore team will be setting goals for the new year, and to do that, we are working through the 4 Disciplines in order to grow and refine our business. Many business people and entrepreneurs are outcome-oriented and need to set business goals in order to achieve their vision. It is extremely important to set clear, achievable goals in order for a business to grow. Hopefully, you had a successful and happy 2018. Whether this is or is not the case, 2019 is a new start! Therefore, in an effort to help you 2019 on the right foot, here is a brief overview of the 4 Disciplines.
1. Set fewer goals:
It isn’t a cop-out. In fact, it is the first discipline from the book. The point is that most of the day is eaten up by actually doing your job, whatever that may be. Very few people have the luxury of carving out huge portions of time to improve something. The authors provide quantifiable data that shows the more goals an organization sets, the fewer it achieves (set one, achieve one, set 12, achieve none). Why? Because you need to focus the little time you have on something that is really, really “wildly” important. So, instead of making 10 goals, commit some time to determining the most important thing that you can do for your business, and make that your goal – your ONLY goal – until it is achieved, and then go focus on the next most important thing.
2. Predict the future:
What? Yes – once you figure out the most important thing you could achieve, you need to know how to make it happen. The book calls these “lead measures,” and it makes total sense (but is easier said than done). For example, if the goal is to increase sales by 10%, you can’t act on monthly sales reports, because by the time you see the numbers it is too late to do anything about them. The monthly sales reports would be a “lag measure.” If you determine that your sales team closes 30% of the in-person meetings they have with potential clients, then maybe the lead measure is the number of in-person meetings the sales team has. Increase those by 10% and you’ll see the sales numbers go up by 10%. So the lead measure might be a set number of in-person meetings per sales person per week.
3. Gamify it:
If you know what the lead measure is, you have to keep score. Anyone who has ever played pickup basketball will love the way the authors describe this one. Everyone knows what it’s like before the game starts – people are getting warmed up and loose; some are stretching, others are trying to make half-court shots. But once the teams are picked and score is being kept no one is shooting half court shots anymore. Why? Because people want to win and half court shots are low percentage shots. Once you start keeping score people start making better decisions, things get more efficient, people actually care, and the business starts to make progress on the most important thing it can be doing if – IF – you have the right lead measure.
4. Be consistent:
This is often the hardest part. We all know people (not us, right?) who set workout goals only to lose momentum by February. They start out motivated and enthusiastic, but after a short period of time the initial energy seems to wear off, and soon they have forgotten or abandoned the goal completely. Consistency, even if that requires a lower level of intensity to begin with, is key to achieving your goals. The authors of the 4 Disciplines suggest holding a weekly all-hands meeting for the sole purpose of reporting what each person on the team did in the prior week and what they are committing to do in the coming week w/r/t the lead measure. The meeting has to be extremely short and extremely focused, otherwise you run the risk of it turning into another meeting that your team will rightly find an excuse to miss. Keeping it short and simple will also help everyone maintain their focus on what matters- the lead measures- instead of catching up about social events or going off into less important business goals.
As 2018 comes to an end, we would like to thank all of our clients for their faith in the Fourscore team! We look forward to helping you to achieve your business goals next year and wish them all a very happy, safe and prosperous 2019!
Based in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, Fourscore Business Law serves entrepreneurs and businesses in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Wilmington, Charlotte and throughout the Southeast. We also represent venture capital funds and other investors who invest in companies located in New York, Silicon Valley and everywhere between. The idea of delivering maximum impact in a simple and succinct manner is what we’re calling the Fourscore Principle. And that is what Fourscore Business Law is based on. Our clients operate in a broad range of industries including tech, IoT, consumer products, B2B services and more. Questions? Shoot us an email or give us a call at (919) 307-5356. Your first call is on us.