The 4 Disciplines of Execution®

Achieving Greatness Through Focused Execution

The Challenge

With a diverse mix of departments and initiatives, colleges and universities have difficulty aligning and focusing their people on achieving the institution’s most important goals.

Execution breaks down because of a conflict between the enormous amount of effort required to maintain an operation (your “day job” or what we call the “whirlwind”) and the goals for moving the operation forward. While both forces are necessary, they are not the same and do not get along. They compete for time, energy, and attention.

“Seventy percent of strategic failures are due to poor execution of leadership. It’s rarely for lack of smarts or vision.”

Ram Charan, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

The Solution

A proven methodology that enables leaders to execute strategic goals with excellence—not just once, but again and again.

Creating a culture of execution means embedding four basic disciplines into every level of your institution:​

1. Focus on the Wildly Important​

Exceptional execution starts with narrowing the focus—clearly identifying what needs to get done.​

2. Act on the Lead Measures​

Twenty percent of activities produce eighty percent of results. The highest predictors of goal achievement are the 80/20 activities that are identified and codified into individual actions and tracked methodically.​

3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard​

People and teams play differently when they are keeping score, and the right kind of scoreboards motivate the players to win.​

4. Create a Cadence of Accountability​

Great performers thrive in a culture of accountability that is frequent, positive, and self-directed. Each team engages in a simple weekly process that highlights successes, analyzes failures, and course-corrects as necessary, creating the ultimate performance-management system.​


With the help of consulting, coaching, and online resources provided by FranklinCovey, Alamo Colleges became the greatest producer of student degrees and certificates among community colleges in Texas, with an increase of 85% over 3 years. 

The Outcomes


  1. Narrow the focus on the few critical goals for the higher education institution.​

  2. Focus relentlessly on the key leading indicators of goal achievement.​

  3. Direct progress toward goal achievement through compelling scoreboards.​

  4. Ensure goal achievement through a proven accountability process.​

  5. Institutionalize The 4 Disciplines of Execution® throughout the organization for sustained performance and breakthrough results.​


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