4DX is a strategy execution framework that helps organizations focus their efforts and deliver strategies effectively. Like OKR, another strategy execution framework, you can track 4DX in Perdoo to increase visibility, ensure always-updated goals, and turn a great strategy into amazing results.
What is 4DX?
4DX is a strategy execution framework developed by Stephen R. Covey and Chris McChesney, presented in their book The 4 Disciplines of Execution. The concept covers 4 key areas that, when combined, help leaders and teams execute business strategy.
The 4 disciplines of 4DX are:
Focus on a few wildly important goals
Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t continue to measure business as usual work with KPIs, but 4DX is encouraging you to focus on a few goals that matter most to achieve your organization’s growth ambitions.
Leverage lead measures
4DX draws a useful distinction between lead and lag measures. Lead measures are those that’ll see results almost immediately (eg number of sales calls booked), whereas lag measures take longer to see results (eg new business revenue). It’s good to monitor lag measures, but as you won’t get results straight away, you need to identify some lead measures that can be good predictors of your lag measures’ success.
Ensure that teams stay on top of goals. Your team players want to know the score at all times, so need an easy-to-use scoreboard that will help them keep on top of those all-important measures.
This requires a cadence to be effective. 4DX recommends weekly check-in meetings where each team member commits to one or two things they’ll do this week to push the measures on the scoreboard.
4DX vs OKR
OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. It’s both a strategy execution framework and a way to formulate goals. It mainly concerns the first two dimensions of execution in 4DX, focus and leverage. But good OKR implementations also address the final two dimensions, engagement and accountability. Let’s dive into how similar these two frameworks really are:
OKR also encourages organizations to focus on what matters most. Encouraging teams and the organization to work on as few goals as possible, to provide a radical focus. Like 4DX, most organizations who find success with OKR will also be tracking KPIs to monitor their business as usual work. Perdoo gives you tools to track both OKRs and KPIs alongside each other. Indeed, most OKR consultants would recommend this approach.
In OKR, an Objective tells you where you want to go, and its Key Results let you know if you’re getting there. The Objective should, like the first discipline of execution from 4DX, be a qualitative statement about a wildly important goal for the organization or a team. The Key Results are then the measures that you’ll use to let you know if you’ve got there. OKR doesn’t say a lot about the difference between lag and lead measures, so many organizations choose to also track the things they’ll be doing to accomplish the OKR alongside it. At Perdoo, we call these “Initiatives.” As such, a Key Result would be what 4DX calls a lag measure, and Initiatives would be the lead measures that you’ll leverage as predictors of your future success. Think back to the example of number of sales calls booked (lead measure) and new business revenue (lag metric). Of course, these lead metrics can’t guarantee you’ll achieve your outcomes, which is why we’ll need to also keep a close eye on our Key Results. To do all that, we need a scoreboard…
Key to engagement is letting all the players in your team know where they stand from week to week. Ideally, says 4DX, you’ll use a scoreboard. Here, OKR is again in agreement. In Perdoo, you’ll find all the scores you need to track your measures on each Objective, to course-correct or double-down where needed. And with robust custom or pre-built reports, you’ll predict challenges early on. We’ll keep you in the loop too – weekly progress emails and integrations with communication tools like Slack or MS Teams keep your scores top of mind.
Effective accountability according to 4DX is all about having a cadence of frequently checking in on your goals, evaluating progress, and committing to action. It’s exactly the same with OKR. Who wouldn’t want to move away from a “set it and forget it” mentality? 4DX is quite explicit about having a meeting to check in on your goals. At Perdoo, we agree. Meetings to review progress on goals are essential to boost alignment, foster collaboration, and remove roadblocks. Heading into these meetings, it’s important that goals are actually up to date. In Perdoo, each goal lead will receive helpful nudges once a week (or at the time you decide as an organization) to update their goals via a Check-in. They’ll be able to add a comment to each Key Result or Initiative to highlight what’s been done in the past week and make commitments for the things they’ll be focusing on next week. You can even @ mention a coworker for a job well done or flag a dependency.
The subtle differences
4DX recommends formulating your wildly important goal to highlight where you are right now, where you want to go, and by when you should get there. On timing, OKR recommends operating in a cadence of goals, to set a rhythm for your organization. There are obviously some big benefits to having everyone in the organization setting and achieving goals at the same time, namely horizontal alignment, or distinct times for planning and reviewing. Perdoo combines these two approaches to offer greater flexibility. We encourage you to set OKRs at a particular cadence (eg quarterly) but then also offer the ability to set due dates for your Key Results, so you can adjust your “by when” on a per-goal basis.
4DX doesn’t say a lot about goal alignment, other than that goals should align with the organization’s strategy. With OKR, organizations tend to set annual company OKRs, with teams setting quarterly OKRs that often align to those company priorities. At Perdoo, we take things one step further to ensure strategic alignment. You can align OKRs to company strategy in order to visualize the relationships between your strategy and the goals that’ll achieve it. All of this is of course optional – we give you flexibility to set goals as you see fit. Some organizations might choose to just set wildly important goals on a quarterly basis to provide greater agility. This would then start to look a lot like a typical 4DX implementation.
4DX in Perdoo
As we’ve seen, the similarities between 4DX and OKR mean that it’s very simple to track both types of goals in Perdoo with some small changes to terminology. Here’s an example of a scoreboard for a 4DX goal in Perdoo.
Beyond the great overview that this scoreboard offers, Perdoo has plenty of additional benefits to take your 4DX implementation to the next level:
- Full transparency on priorities. As 4DX suggests, focusing on a few wildly important goals doesn’t mean losing track of your business as usual work. Visit any team’s page in Perdoo and you’ll see all the goals that they’re involved with, both their OKRs (or 4DX goals) AND their KPIs, giving you full transparency on their priorities.
- Automate check-ins. 4DX rightly puts a big emphasis on accountability and the importance of frequent goal updates. When goals are up to date, they’re far more likely to be achieved as you’ll make informed decisions based on concrete data. In Perdoo, you’ll choose how often you want to update goals, and we’ll take care of the rest. Team members will receive helpful reminders to update their goals, and they can update in a flash via MS Teams, Slack, on mobile, or in our web app. And to avoid duplicate work, you can integrate Perdoo with 65+ business apps for always-updated goals.
- Map 4DX to strategy. To truly boost strategic alignment, you’ll need to communicate strategy alongside the goals that’ll realize it. Research tells us that 90% of employees don’t understand company strategy. Fixing this will improve employee engagement and your agility to beat the competition as everyone starts pulling in the same direction. Perdoo’s Roadmap (below) helps you join the dots between strategy and execution, so everyone can understand how their work contributes to strategy, and you can all work together to deliver it.
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