Discipline 4: Create a cadence of accountability
Where execution actually happens
The fourth discipline is to create a cadence of accountability, a frequently recurring cycle of accounting for past performance and planning to move the score forward. Discipline 4 is where execution happens. Disciplines 1, 2 and 3 set up the game but, until you apply Discipline 4, your team isn’t in the game.
This is the discipline that brings the team members together.
In Discipline 4, your team meets at least weekly in a WIG session. This meeting lasts no longer than 20 to 30 minutes, has a set agenda and goes quickly, establishing your weekly rhythm of accountability to drive progress towards the WIG.
Here’s the three-part agenda for a WIG session and the kind of language you should be hearing in the session:
1. Account: Report on commitments.
“I committed to make a personal call to three customers who gave us lower scores. I did, and here’s what I learned…”
2. Review the scoreboard: Learn from successes and failures.
“Our lag measure is green, but we’ve got a challenge with one of our lead measures that just fell to yellow. Here’s what happened…”
3. Plan: Clear the path and make new commitments.
“I’ll meet with Bob on our numbers and come back next week with at least three ideas to help us improve.”
To prepare for the meeting, every team member thinks about the same question: “What are the one or two most important things I can do this week to impact the lead measures?”
The WIG session should move at a fast pace. The WIG session also gives the team the chance to process what they’ve learned. You should often ask each team member “What can I do this week to clear the path for you?”
Each commitment must meet two standards:
- The commitment must represent a specific deliverable.
- The commitment must influence the lead measure.
If you simply tell your team what to do, they will learn little. What you ultimately want is for each member of your team to take personal ownership of the commitments they make.
A Different Kind of Accountability
The accountability created in a WIG session is not organisational, it’s personal. Instead of accountability to a broad outcome you can’t influence, it’s accountability to a weekly commitment that you yourself made and that is within your power to keep. When members of the team see their peers consistently following through on the commitments they make, they learn that the people they work with can be trusted to follow through. When this happens, performance improves dramatically.
The WIG session encourages experimentation with fresh ideas. It engages everyone in problem-solving and promotes shared learning. 4DX produces results not from the exercise of authority, but from the fundamental desire of each individual team member to feel significant, to do work that matters and, ultimately, to win.