25 June 2018
4DX, also known as the four disciplines of execution, is based on the four foundations of focus, leverage, engagement, and accountability. Over 2,000 businesses worldwide have implemented 4DX management, but not all have had it work successfully. Why it fails in some organizations is because it takes a major shift in thinking, as well as a cultural and behavioral change. When people are stuck in a certain way of doing things, it can ultimately cause resistance against the progress that 4DX hopes to achieve. But, Quantified Commerce was able to implement 4DX management in all its offices, warehouses and factories ranging from its corporate headquarters in Times Square, New York, to its factory in Panchkula, India.
The Four Disciplines of Execution: Achieving your Wildly Important Goals is a book by authors Sean Covey, Jim Huling and Chris McChesney. The four principles outlined in their book take dedication and constant focus.
In the first discipline, a team must differentiate between their “Wildly Important Goals,” or WIGs, and the “whirlwind” of day-to-day activity that can shift their focus from their important end-goals. There shouldn’t be more than a couple WIGs so that they can still be obtainable while managing the whirlwind. The whirlwind should never be allowed to take over more than 80 percent of the entire workload.
The second discipline concerns itself with applying more energy towards “lead measures” as opposed to “lag measures.” The lead measures are the ones that are directly associated with achieving a WIG. Lag measures have to do with past data, like customer service.
The third discipline deals with “keeping a compelling scoreboard” to keep members of the team constantly engaged. It is necessary to keep the scoreboard visible at all times. This will help members stay motivated. Laying out all the tasks will give team members a visual as to where their progress stands compared to other team members.
The final discipline is perhaps the most important. It states teams must “create a cadence of accountability.” Each week, teams will hold WIG meetings where they hold each other accountable for completing the target goals for the week. This makes sure that WIGs don’t get caught up in the whirlwind.
These disciplines are simple enough to break down, but actually applying them to the workplace is much easier said than done. Especially if you are dealing with employees that are not accustomed to setting work for themselves, but rather, being assigned tasks by their superiors.
India is a country that is usually associated with a vertical management style with a high level of power distance. The power distance index, or PDI, deals with the unequal distribution of power in a society or organization, and to what extent the less powerful people accept and expect these circumstances. India has a exceptionally high PDI of 77.
In a working culture that is accustomed to a high PDI and vertical management, employees could will often times feel uncomfortable reporting errors to superiors, and may not be as willing to speak up and be held accountable for their actions. That’s why education, and sometimes re-education, is necessary to implement the core values associated with 4DX in the workplace. This is what vertically integrated company Quantified Commerce does on a daily basis.
“We spend 1-2 hours everyday educating our Indian employees not only on tech updates, but instilling in them the disciplines of 4DX,” says Ryan Andreas, co-founder of Quantified Commerce. “It certainly isn’t easily and a lot of work goes into reprogramming the working culture our Indian employees are acclimized to. However, it is worth it in the end when they set their own goals and hold themselves accountable to them.”
They don’t only focus on education with their Indian employees, though. This is something that Quantified Commerce puts precedence on with all of its employees. “ All of our employees, whether in India or in New York are educated in and tested on 4DX when they’re brought on board,” Andreas says. “ We strictly adhere to all principles of 4DX. On top of weekly WIG meetings, we have daily Scrum meetings, so that everyone knows what the their team members are working on and is aware of everyones set goals. This way we assure that projects do not slip and time is not wasted because of a lack of communication.”
While its implementation is a constant commitment from a workplace team, it can drive a company’s focus towards success. In part thanks to its adherence to the 4DX model, Quantified Commerce has seen extraordinary growth of 100-300% per year over the past four years. With constant dedication to educating employees in 4DX, even countries that are accustomed to be driven by very different workplace values can, with hard work, learn to work through its disciplines.