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Implementing the 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX): 5 Stages of Change

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You’re learning about the 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) and aiming to apply them in your organization. However, the process isn’t as easy as you thought because changing human behavior is quite challenging.

You’re not alone – leaders worldwide face similar challenges when deploying 4DX, known collectively as the “5 Stages of Behavioral Change.”

This article will help you understand what these 5 stages entail, the actions to take at each stage to overcome them, and ultimately successfully implement 4DX while establishing a culture of excellent execution within your organization.

Learn more: Book Review: The 4 Disciplines of Execution – Technology for Strategy Deployment by Franklin Covey

I. 5 Stages of Change in Implementing the 4 Disciplines of Execution

5 Stages of Change in Implementing the 4 Disciplines of Execution

5 Stages of Change in Implementing the 4 Disciplines of Execution

Stage 1: Getting Clear

In this initial stage, you have decided to implement 4DX within your organization. You and your team have identified the Wildly Important Goal (WIG), lag & lead measures, a simple enough scoreboard, and are eagerly anticipating change following the weekly WIG session.

But everything seems to have hit a roadblock; your team is still dragged into daily tasks (the whirlwind), and changing their behavior in a short period proves challenging. Don’t be overly concerned; at this initial stage, your primary focus is on “clarifying” goals with the team to boost their motivation in weathering the whirlwind.

Key actions include:

  • Be a model of focus on the wildly important goal(s)
  • Identify high-leverage lead measures
  • Create a players’ scoreboard
  • Schedule WIG sessions at least weekly and hold them

Stage 2: Launch

Now the team is at the starting line. But just as a rocket requires tremendous, highly focused energy to escape the earth’s gravity, the team needs intense involvement from the leader at this point of launch.

At this stage, you’ll realize that what’s easy to plan is often challenging to implement in reality. Now, you not only contend with the whirlwind but also with a team of varying motivation levels. While it’s challenging, you can still overcome it with some successful launch secrets:

  • Recognize that a launch phase requires focus and energy – especially from the leader
  • Remain focused and implement the 4DX process diligently. You can trust the process
  • Identify your models (those who get on board), your potentials (those who struggle at first), and your resisters (those who don’t want to get on board)

Stage 3: Adoption

Your team is implementing 4DX, and resistance is gradually diminishing while enthusiasm is on the rise. Members are becoming more accountable to each other.

As the team sees action measures yielding results, their excitement grows. For the first time in months, they begin to feel like winners. Remember, applying 4DX takes time and procedural adherence to achieve WIGs; otherwise, the whirlwind might quickly engulf everything again.

Remember these keys to successful adoption of 4DX:

  • Focus first on adherence to the process, then on results
  • Make commitments and hold each other accountable in weekly WIG sessions
  • Track results each week on a visible scoreboard
  • Make adjustments as needed
  • Invest in the potentials through additional training and mentoring
  • Answer straightforwardly any issues with resisters and clear the path for them if needed

Stage 4: Optimization

At this stage, the team shifts to a 4DX mindset: working with purpose, increased diligence, and a proactive approach to optimize their effectiveness.

A notable aspect here is that if you propose they optimize their tasks, there might be resistance as it implies additional work. However, when the initiative comes from them, they not only become willing but also enthusiastic to put it into action.

At this point, the team’s commitment and energy towards the WIG reach unprecedented levels. Target metrics consistently rise, weekly commitments are excellently fulfilled, and WIG meetings consistently focus tightly on the achieved results.

Here are keys to making the most of this stage:

  • Encourage and recognize abundant creative ideas for moving the lead measures, even if some work better than others
  • Recognize excellent follow-through and celebrate successes
  • Encourage team members to clear the path for each other and celebrate it when it happens
  • Recognize when the potentials start performing like the models

Stage 5: Habits

At this point, 4DX has become a habit within the team. It not only generates impressive results but also creates a culture of excellent execution within your organization.

Once the new behaviors become ingrained in the day-to-day operation, you can set new goals and still execute with excellence again and again. Here are keys to help the team make 4DX habitual:

  • Celebrate the accomplishment of the WIG
  • Move immediately on to new WIGs in order to formalize 4DX as your operating system
  • Emphasize that your new operating standard is sustained superior performance on lead measures
  • Help individual team members become high performers by tracking and moving the middle

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From the initial stages to the point where 4DX becomes a habit within your organization, these 5 stages may span from 1 to 2 years, depending on the scale, complexity of the business model, and the determination of leaders within the organization.

With the support of 4DX implementation experts and accompanying tools, you can shorten the deployment time across the entire team and ensure a successful first-time implementation.

II. Simplamo – The Modern 4DX software

Simplamo is a unique, modern 4DX software with essential features designed to transform team behaviors. In addition to implementing the 4 Disciplines of Execution, Simplamo also assists businesses in successfully deploying other management methods such as OKRs, KPIs, and BSC.

Learn more: BNI Vietnam applies the 4 Disciplines of Execution through Simplamo software

Simplamo - The Modern 4DX software

Simplamo – The Modern 4DX software

Benefits of Implementing the 4 Disciplines of Execution with Simplamo:

  • You can easily centralize all data and track 4DX exclusively within one platform
  • Team members easily grasp your message through Simplamo and recognize that 4DX is actively taking place within the organization
  • You and your team share a common platform to track scoreboards, update lead measures, and assess their impact on important lag measures
  • The team shares a common framework/formula to create WIGs and lead measures for their department, requiring minimal guidance and reminders from you. This approach also enhances creativity and strengthens accountability
  • Simplamo ensures highly convenient and swift WIG meetings, sparing you from challenges such as searching for scoreboards and metrics, being diverted by unrelated issues, lacking a place for meeting notes or commitment creation, lacking a method to assign and track commitments, and figuring out how to review meeting reports, including those you missed. Don’t worry! Simplamo’s Meeting feature addresses all these concerns for you.
  • Because Simplamo helps you and your team implement 4DX with focus, convenience, and minimal time investment, even while dealing with the storms that require handling, both the team and even yourself will feel more confident and enthusiastic about 4DX. This makes it easier to navigate through the 5 stages of change and establish a 4DX culture within the organization.
  • 4DX is a long journey spanning 1 to 2 years, during which personnel changes are inevitable, impacting overall results. However, with Simplamo, exchanging information for new team members about what 4DX entails and how it operates becomes easy, facilitating their quick assimilation into the 4DX process.
  • You can implement 4DX on Simplamo independently using provided materials or seek guidance from Simplamo experts for a seamless and effective execution across your organization, ensuring desired outcomes.

Learn more:


Simplamo is a modern and scientifically-based management software that uniquely combines KPI and OKR, making every aspect of operation simple and approachable for every employee. It relieves pressure for leaders, allowing them to focus on important missions and optimize work performance for the business.

Experience Simplamo and feel the change in just 4 weeks! Register for a Simplamo demo at:

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