Four Disciplines of Goal Setting and Execution

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Randy Claybrook
June 19, 2008

Four Disciplines of Execution
and Goal Setting

Prepared for Professor David Futrell, PhD
Summer I, 2009
MBA 410 Organizational Behavior
Butler University

Four Disciplines of Execution and Goal Setting
Most highly successful organizations have SMART* goals which include performance measures. The problem with such goals, once they are established, is they use lagging indicators to track success after the fact. The Four Disciplines of Execution emphasizes an ongoing methodology to focus attention on critical goals, leading indicators and associated tasks that drive goal attainment. * Specific - goals written or verbalized that have value or purpose * Measurable – goals are quantified

* Activity (Map) – small tasks (My Action Plan) that are necessary * Realistic – goals are conceivable, believable and realistically achievable * Time line – a definite finish line focuses tasks and energy levels. Goals without a deadline are also known as dreams. The Four Disciplines of Execution is an insightful training program created by Franklin Covey. This report summarizes many of the points learned during a three-hour seminar on June 9 in addition to MBA coursework for Organizational Behavior taken at Butler University. Four Disciplines goes beyond the SMART goals. Four Disciplines is about daily and weekly execution by the team members that can influence the outcomes. High performing teams execute goals and achieve greatness because of a shared vision, committed interdependence, mutual trust, accountability, and a high degree of personal pride. Highly effective leaders plan or create strategies to transform their organizations. They have a vision and passion to create opportunities and lead their teams up mountains to achieve higher success. Mac Shane & Gilnow (page 417) define four elements of transformational leadership as: 1. Create a strategic vision – a realistic and attractive future valued by the organization; a higher purpose. 2. Communicate the vision – share the goal and its importance with emotional appeal so that it captivates the stakeholders. Frame the message around a grand purpose and WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). 3. Model the vision – “walk the talk” by stepping outside the executive suite and doing things that symbolize the vision. Be reliable and persistent. 4. Build commitment to the vision –“individual and team commitment through story telling that builds contagious enthusiasm to energize the troops. Reflect an image of honesty, trust, and integrity. Finally, leaders build commitment by involving employees in the process of shaping the organizations vision.” (Page 418) “A leader can create strategy and then execute the strategy. Most leaders will tell you that execution is what they struggle with the most. Why is execution difficult to accomplish with greatness? Leaders study STRATEGY in business school or MBA programs. They don’t teach execution techniques in these programs,” according to Covey. Keep doing the same thing and expecting something different is the classic definition of insanity. This old sage is particularly true for transformational leadership situations. When goals are challenging and changing for an organization, they should provide: 1. Clarity

2. Accountability
3. Translation

Four Disciplines emphasizes that team members must:

1. Know the goal
2. Know what to do to achieve the goal
3. Keep score
4. Be held accountable.

Execution (doing) versus planning (strategy)
Whirlwind (urgent) versus goals (important)
In every organization there is an inherit clash between two forces. They are the whirlwind (day job) and the strategic goals (long-term vision) for moving the organization forward. The whirlwind is all the work and energy that keeps the organization busy. It keeps the doors open. The day job is the enormous amount of work required just to stay afloat. Whirlwinds are Urgent...
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