The Rhythm of Discipline — A Gateway to Getting Your WIG On

musical bulls eyeWho doesn’t want to execute better? Regardless of the value found in ‘failing,’ no one is out to do it, and just scrap ‘mediocre’ off the list, it’s worse than failure. The fact is, we’re all in hot pursuit of optimal performance. Yet, despite this innate desire, we often find ourselves losing the battle.

How do we turn the tables and start winning in an area so critical to our growth and success as individuals and organizations?

Two words: rhythm and discipline.

Rhythm is most often associated with music, but it is an equally great descriptor of execution. Rhythm is a strong, regular repeated pattern. Discipline is the following of a set of rules or orders. Therefore, it’s not a stretch to assert that consistent and excellent execution relies on getting into a rhythm of discipline.

This isn’t a revelation. Sometimes, however, a slight tweak in the way we see, hear, or do something can have a monumental effect. The Tekara Associates discovered this first hand as we went through a session on the 4 Disciplines of Execution.

Here’s a quick rundown of the four disciplines which work together as a system.

  1. Focus — Identify one or two wildly important goals (WIGs) to work on.

  2. Leverage —  Zero your focus in on a couple of measures for your WIG: the overall outcome you want to achieve (I/we want to move from x to y by z date) and two or three behaviours or small outcomes that will drive you toward the greater objective.

  3. Engagement — Keep yourself or your team engaged by creating a fun and simple visual scoreboard to record activity and track results. This is where our inherent competitiveness shows up and propels us forward.

  4. Accountability — Set up structured peer-to-peer meetings to ensure you stay on target. These meetings should be frequent (twice a month) and short, crisp affairs. There is one purpose: to maintain momentum by holding one another accountable.

Now, all of this is straightforward. That’s the beauty of the 4 Disciplines of Execution, it creates a simple and structured system to focus on the most important priorities. Its power lies in not allowing the crazy day-to-day demands to run all aspects of our life. These demands (the whirlwind) take up 80% of our time, and require the bulk of our energy. There is no room for this chaos in the WIG universe: it acts like a gale wind in the face of our big plans, high priority targets, or strategic goals.

This system creates a sacred, protected space for your most essential strategic plans. It acts as a catalyst for harnessing our energy into a rhythm of discipline. It’s through this rhythm of discipline that we find ourselves performing at our best, continuing to improve, and achieving our wildly important goals.

Image credit: emilyaminu via Flickr

Nathanael Baker


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