The Four Disciplines of Execution…..What’s in it for HOBY?

Last week I had the chance to showcase how I plan to influence the audience of the HOBY organization in the future with my strategy for change. In this assignment, I want to look at the four disciplines of execution and how we can implement each of them in our organization. HOBY has had a long history of changing things, such as: the number of programs, the curricula, prices for seminars, and volunteers as time moves on. We have a number of things to look at, and it is important that we attempt to see them all.

In the book The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling, there is a four-step process by which a plan should be executed. The first discipline is to focus on the wildly important. Many of us travel through life without really understanding that sometimes less is actually more. The goal of this discipline is for all of us to realize that when we try to do more, we can actually fail at accomplishing something. In my mind, I think of a key concept that was taught during one of my business classes towards my bachelor’s degree. This concept is that we should all “work smarter, not harder.” If you should be a salesman, cold calling is not an idea that you should do randomly. Rather, do more detective work when you plan for a business strategy and make sure that the calls you are doing are leading to results. This, in turn, can lead to measurable results that the sales team can see.


The authors further go on to say that there are five stages of change that allow the human behavior aspects to be impacted at every stage of the game. With all things considered, I want us to take a look at how we could develop a strategy in our organization to put a model in place that all people will love.

Stage 1: Getting Clear

At HOBY, we have always had a clear setting for how we plan to accomplish things. It is important that we all understand what is expected of all of us at the national and local level. With this stage in mind, we could look at the first discipline of execution: to focus on our wildly important goals. So, now, with this in mind, I want us to set a “wildly important goal” at HOBY. We should focus all of our time and energy on making sure that our ideas and goals are all very important for us. In this case, I want HOBY to focus on upgrading seminar operations in the coming years.

We should aim to make sure that all of our seminar sites understand our technologies employed in the next seminar year. So, when this is done, we can better use our seminar sites to make sure that all people have a better understanding of what is expected from them. This would eliminate a lot of confusion during our planning processes. By focusing on this extremely important goal, we can call this the “goal that matters most.” It is very important that HOBY only focuses on one goal at a time, since it might lead us to fail at our attempts to make things better.

In this section, I thought it would be a good idea for HOBY to focus on seminar operations, since this seems to permeate into all aspects of our organization and how people perceive things to be in our organization. If we dive into more specific terms, I think we could narrow our goal down to increasing our volunteer learning capacity at our seminars. HOBY is going to work to increase our volunteer technology literacy rate to 100 percent in the next seminar year. I hope to be involved in this process by taking a look at all parts of our planning process and being involved in the professional development process by training other staff members on our technological systems.

Stage 2: Launch

After HOBY has taken the time to look at our technology literacy rate, we can then move on to look at the innovation plan and how we plan to start the process of training our volunteers to be more effective at what they do. We will have to utilize a lot of focus and energy from the board of directors and other high-level staff to make this happen. From here, we will look at the second discipline of execution, focusing on the lead measures. If we were to look at a lag goal, we might say that all of us put the most time into planning our seminar for the coming year. The lead measure that I want us to use is developing a technological literacy rate of 50 percent for our volunteers by the middle of the year. From here, we can get to 100 percent in our seminar operations by working with other people involved in the process. If we all work together, the transition to effective learning can take place very effectively. I plan to assist our seminar leaders and other seminar sites to ensure that all of this happens. By focusing on our lead measure, we have a more effective way of engaging with our volunteers.

Stage 3: Adoption

When more and more seminar sites become engaged in what they are learning, it is important that all HOBY officials see the importance in using the proposed innovation plan as a way to move toward our new learning systems. From here, we can all develop a better sense of how to get to 100 percent retention. I plan to travel and meet with other seminar sites during the next seminar year to find out how we can implement the innovation plan even better. When Louisiana does it well, we will be seen as a model that should be duplicated across all HOBY chapters. In this stage, we will implement the WIG on a national level and see to it that other seminar sites for HOBY are doing what will become a universal model.

Stage 4: Optimization

In this phase of the game, I want to see HOBY become fully engaged in what my innovation plan entails. We should also take a look at the third discipline of execution, which is keeping a compelling scoreboard for all volunteers of this organization. At this, we will have shifted to the 4DX mindset. All of our HOBY volunteers will become engaged in the innovation plan by looking at the WIG that we are seeking to accomplish in the next seminar year. So, the next question becomes, “How exactly do we keep a compelling scoreboard?” My answer to this is to create an award or cash prize that will be given to the seminar site that implemented this program most effectively in their chapter. We will require that all seminar sites in our organization implement this program to make sure that they are hitting our target goal in the organization. I plan to help make this happen by designing a checklist and having periodic conference calls with all of our seminar sites to discuss where they are in the process. In turn, each seminar site could keep score on the checklist to see how close they are to getting the prize. So, when we enter this phase, we have to all be engaging in how we will use this plan effectively at our seminar sites.

Stage 5: Habits

When we get to the final stage of this process, we will have to look back at how things went. The big question will be, “Did we hit our goal of 100 percent technology in a seminar year?” It is here that we could look at the fourth discipline of execution, creating a cadence of accountability. It is important that we look at all of our data to see how well the innovation plan was implemented. I plan to have each seminar site, at the end of the implementation period, fill out a form and tell us where they ended up in the process. From here, we see how accountable each seminar site was with respect to the goal that we paid out in the previous year. Our award will be given at the annual banquet each summer where we recognize our volunteers for their service. Accountability is important since we all have the ability to go back into our old ways and do things that we changed in the transformation process. By looking at the results of each seminar site, we can see who came the closest to 100 percent literacy in the innovation plan. Each seminar site would be accountable for their standards, and chances are that we would all feel better about knowing everyone was held to the same standards.  


The Influencer Model and the 4DX model are both great examples of how different strategies can help a group of people execute a strategy. I think that the key difference between them is how they seek to cause change in an organization. The Influencer model uses six sources of behavior to speak to the hearts and minds of other people. These six sources of behavior are personal motivation, personal ability, social motivation, social ability, structural motivation, and structural ability. These key strategies speak to the “why” of the group with the goal of changing the behaviors of the people involved in the plan. At the end of the six sources, a new desired strategy can be executed by attacking the resistance typically given by stubborn people. So, when the signal is given, everyone sees the reason in their hearts to change, and this leads a team to their desired goals.

The 4DX model is a bit similar, but different. The Four Disciplines of Execution seek to change individuals by having them work on key goals, one part at a time. This strategy looks at five stages, including getting clear goals, launching those goals, adoption and optimization of the goals, and habits that lead these goals to be achieved. The four disciplines include focusing on one big, single goal, leveraging the goal to inspire a team, keeping a good scoreboard of the results to be achieved, and using accountability to make sure the goal goes into action. In the end, I think that these are both very big ideas that HOBY could find useful in many areas. I could use the Influencer model to change the behaviors that drive the change in our organization, and I could use the 4DX model to make sure that HOBY accomplishes a single goal with a big impact. I believe that the 4DX model is the concept that would probably get the most use at HOBY, though, as we have always been very open to ideas. The one thing that I believe will be hard, though, is implementing the innovation plan in measured phases to make sure that we are achieving the desired results. If we all work together, I am sure that great things can come from our aspirations. The “goal that matters most” is what I want the most to bring to HOBY, and the four disciplines of execution can help us get there. That is the whirlwind that is in it for all of us!


Grenny, J. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (n.d.). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals.


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