The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling

A Menlo Innovations Book Review by Mollie Callahan, High-Tech Anthropologist®

Menlo Innovations
2 min readMar 17, 2020


The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a game changing read for those interested in successfully hitting big vision goals, both personal and professional, while also effectively managing the non-negotiable “whirlwind” of everyday activity necessary for survival.

The authors observed that failure to meet strategic goals generally results from two simultaneous mistakes:

  1. Trying to focus on too many goals at once
  2. Allowing urgent demands to subvert the tasks necessary to achieve strategic goals.

4DX is a fail-proof formula for successfully balancing the urgent and the important.

According to the authors of 4DX, success with any change initiative starts with a laser sharp focus on one to two wildly important goals, or WIGS. But having goals is not enough. Goals need to be integrated with 4 basic disciplines:

  • Focusing on the Wildly Important
  • Acting on Lead Measures
  • Keeping a Compelling Scoreboard
  • Creating a Cadence of Accountability

Lead measures are the critical behaviors necessary to achieve stated goals. Simple scoreboards and weekly check-ins ensure that lead measures — the behaviors most likely to positively impact strategic goals — are visible, regularly enacted, and monitored.

In short, “The 4 Disciplines aren’t designed for managing your whirlwind. The 4 Disciplines are rules for executing your most critical strategy in the midst of your whirlwind.”

In reviewing countless business and personal cases in which people relentlessly commit to practicing the 4 Disciplines, we see compelling evidence that a systems approach to executing strategic goals wins over willpower every time. Whether you are a CEO, external consultant, or frontline worker hungry to implement change, The 4 Disciplines of Execution is your recipe for success! It may not be easy, but it is proven to work.

Get your copy here!



Menlo Innovations

A custom software development, process design and cultural transformation company bringing joy to technology teams. Ask us anything