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writing down goals

Focus on the Wildly Important

Earlier this year, I shared that The Nebo Company was implementing a process for effective execution of our strategic initiatives using The 4 Disciplines of Execution (aka 4DX) by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling.

To briefly recap, the 4 Disciplines are:

  1. Focus on Wildly Important Goals (WIGs)
  2. Act on the Lead Measures
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability

Since January, we have used the framework to help us focus on Nebo’s strategic goals for 2018. We spent time familiarizing ourselves with the important concepts in the book, specifically the difference between the “whirlwind” and “goals.”

The whirlwind is the day-to-day work we do, from client delivery to business development to working with vendors. The whirlwind is urgent, and it acts on us.

In contrast, WIGs require us to perform new activities and behaviors that will help us move from the current state to the desired future. The goals are critically important to our progress, and we must prioritize them. We act on them. The whirlwind, though critical, can prevent us from achieving our goals.

Lessons Learned to Date

As we work through this process, we’ve learned a lot, specifically how to make adjustments to stay on course. Some key lessons we have learned to date include:

  • Defining a goal in the format of “From X to Y by when” is critical to maintaining focus. One of our initial WIGs focused on consistently delivering an excellent client experience. As we worked on the WIG, we realized there really wasn’t a “From X to Y by when” because the activities were really part of the whirlwind. It’s still critical to our success, but it’s not a WIG.
  • Limiting the number of WIGs per team member increases the probability of achieving goals. The 4DX authors stress that teams can deliver upon 2-3 goals with excellence. Allowing teams to focus on more than that hinders achievement. Over the last few months, we have made adjustments so that team members fully focus on 1-2 WIGs while also meeting the demands of the whirlwind.
  • There are many great ideas and we can’t deliver on them all at once. As we work on the WIGs, we have developed and shared many great ideas. We consistently ask how each great idea will move us toward one of our WIGs. Even if the idea is great, if it does not move us toward achieving a WIG, the idea is tabled for a later date. Capturing these ideas and choosing to focus only on those that will drive the business forward this year has been both a challenge and liberating.
  • Even while lifting your head up to focus on the WIGs, it is essential to execute on the whirlwind with excellence. One of the biggest takeaways has been a deeper understanding of the importance of executing on the whirlwind with excellence. The WIGs are the goals that will move our business into the future we have envisioned. Delivering on the whirlwind with excellence will make sure that our clients, employees, and partners have a superb experience, ensuring that The Nebo Company will be ready to step into the vision of the future when the time is right.

Contact us if you would like to learn more about how to bring focus to achieving your wildly important goals with excellence.


Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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