- The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a goal-setting framework based on four critical components of execution: focus, leverage, engagement, and accountability.
- Focus and decide on only one or two goals that are most important to your success.
- Measure your success using a lead measure (predictive, proactive, and push you closer to your goal) rather than a lag measure (a statistic that measures a past goal, what happened).
- Establish a scoreboard: a clear measure of where you are and where you need to go.
- Accountability involves regularly assessing what you’ve accomplished and proactively tracking performance as well as where you’re falling short.
Whatever your ambitions are as an educator, your ability to achieve them depends on more than just sheer willpower. Even passion—as amazing as it is—can only get you so far. This is especially true when it comes to larger, more complex goals.
Willpower, passion and motivation are all good things that matter, but the reality is without a clear plan for achieving your goals, we end up expending energy in the wrong places and ultimately stall our success. Thinking big is great, but having a strategic plan of attack makes all the difference in not only reaching your most audacious goals, but doing so efficiently and effectively. One system, called the 4DX Method, helps you do just that.
What is the 4DX Method?
The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a goal setting framework based on four critical components of execution: focus, leverage, engagement, and accountability. When used correctly, they effectively allow you to find more clarity, sustainability, and momentum on the path towards your goals. Having the right execution system can significantly impact your journey and potential for success, and the 4DX method helps you get there.
Wildly Important Goals
The 4DX method hinges on what it calls your Wildly Important Goals. You might have a list of a hundred goals you’d like to accomplish, and while it’s great to be ambitious, this mistake is often what holds most people back from actually achieving them. When you’re juggling too many goals at once, you end up stretching yourself beyond capacity, leaving you depleted. To properly utilize the 4DX method, hone in on just one or two goals that are paramount to your success, and leave the rest for later.
Thinking big is great, but having a strategic plan of attack makes all the difference in not only reaching your most audacious goals, but doing so efficiently and effectively. - Sophie Isbell Click To Tweet
Goal Setting System – Discipline 1: Focus
It might sound obvious that in order to achieve a goal, you need to focus on it. But in the hectic day to day life as an educator, this becomes easier said than done as other tasks and daily actions come up along the way and compete for your attention.
The key is deciding what goal is the most important to your success, and prioritizing it above all others. It will require you to say no to other goals that might seem important, and maybe they are—but if they aren’t tied to your Wildly Important Goal, they must be side-stepped. Learning to say no takes effort, but without a narrow focus on your Wildly Important Goal, it will be difficult to make any headway in achieving it.
Goal Setting System – Discipline 2: Leverage
An important component in accomplishing anything in life is the ability to be flexible. Many of the plans people make as they work towards their goals are too rigid, and they’re thrown completely off track when inevitable roadblocks arise. Adapting to the ebbs and flows of the path will increase your resilience and allow you to react more efficiently to the unexpected when it arises (and I promise you, it will!). Part of that adaptability involves how you measure your success as you work towards your goal.
Many make the mistake of measuring their progress based on past performance (lag measures) rather than future successes (lead measures.) A lag measure is a statistic that measures a goal, while a lead measure is predictive and can be influenced.
For example, a business owner might be measuring his success based on the number of sales he made last month. While it makes sense in theory, his measure of success is rooted in the past. The 4DX method uses predictive measures instead—the required activities that drive desired outcomes. So, to use a lead measure, the business owner might instead track the number of promotional offers run last month. Notice that this lead measure can both predict and influence the number of sales made last month, while the lag measure is just a record of what’s happened. Lead measures are proactive and push you closer to your goal.
Goal Setting System – Discipline 3: Engagement
The key to staying motivated and fully engaged on the path towards your goals is establishing a clear and compelling measure of where you are and where you need to go. The 4DX method calls this your scoreboard. A compelling scoreboard should be easy to read and understand at a quick glance. With just a look, you should be able to see exactly where you stand and whether or not you’re on track towards your goals. This allows you to stay fully engaged and aware of your progress each step of the way.[scroll down to keep reading]
Goal Setting System – Discipline 4: Accountability
The first 3 disciplines of the 4DX method are all about the focus, clarity, and engagement needed to successfully reach your goals. The 4th discipline hinges on a final necessary component to push you towards the finish line: accountability. Accountability involves regularly assessing what you’ve accomplished and where you’re falling short. Good accountability means being able to proactively track your performance and course-correct when necessary. Without accountability, you might not realize if you’ve fallen off track.
Goal Setting System Framework
Going after larger than life goals can seem overwhelming but going in with a plan can help you reach them in the most sustainable and efficient way possible. Give this goal setting framework a try, and consider teaching it to your students as well! It might be just what you need to propel you closer to your goals. Keep dreaming big!
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About Sophie Isbell
Sophie writes on behalf of CreditRepair about finance and productivity. Specifically, she is interested in removing the barriers of complicated financial topics and teaching financial literacy in a way that is accessible to all. Her most recent piece is on seven important lessons for teaching kids about credit.