The 4 Disciplines
of Execution®

The 4 Disciplines of Execution®

Challenge and Solution

Seventy percent of strategic failures are due to poor execution of leadership. It’s rarely for lack of smarts or vision.” - Ram Charan, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done 

At FranklinCovey we have studied the topic of execution for several years in thousands of teams and in hundreds of organizations. Our research shows that execution breaks down in four ways: 

1. Managers and work teams don’t know the goal. 

Our research has shown that only 15 percent of employees actually know their organization’s most important goals—either there are no goals or they have too many goals.  

2. Managers and teams don’t know what to do to achieve the goal. 

Too many people don’t know what critical activities provide the greatest leverage to achieving team goals. 

3. They don’t keep score. 

Our research shows that most workers don’t know what the key measures of success are, and they don’t measure and track the specific behaviors that lead to goal accomplishment.  

4. They are not held accountable. 

Our research shows that fewer than 10 percent of people meet with their manager at least monthly to discuss their progress on work goals. 

More importantly, we have been facing the dilemma of making the right decisions to execute our top priorities in the midst of a whirlwind of distractions. 

It takes incredible discipline to execute a strategic goal in any organization. But it takes even more discipline to do so again and again. Creating a culture of execution means embedding four basic disciplines into your organization. At every level, individuals, leaders, and teams need to institutionalize a common approach which we call “The 4 Disciplines of Execution”. 


Focus on the Wildly Important 

This is the discipline of focus. Exceptional execution starts with narrowing the focus—clearly identifying what must be done. Otherwise, nothing else you achieve really matters much. 

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Act on the Lead Measures 

This is the discipline of leverage. 80% of your results will come from 20% of your activities; are you focusing on the right ones? Discipline 2 is based on the principle that not all actions are created equal. Identify and act on the activities with the highest leverage. 

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Keep a Compelling Scoreboard 

This is the discipline of engagement. People and teams play differently when they are keeping score, and the right kind of scoreboards motivate the players to win. 

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Create a Cadence of Accountability 

This is the discipline of accountability. Each team engages in a simple weekly process that highlights successes, analyzes failures, and course-corrects as necessary, creating the ultimate performance-management system. 

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Target Participants 

Leaders, senior managers, middle managers, and core teams who directly implement organizational strategies and wish to achieve superior results by excellent execution. 


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