Chris McChessney Talk at Willow Creek Leadership Summit 2016

Our management team attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit this year. One of our favorite speakers was Chris McChessney. Chris is a VP at Franklin Covey and an excellent communicator. Here are some of the notes from his talk.

Chris’ Book: The Four Disciplines of Execution
Talk Subject: The Disciplines of Execution
What do leaders struggle with more: strategy or execution?
What are leaders educated in: strategy or execution?
The hardest thing a leader will ever do is to drive a strategy that will change behavior.
Edwards Demming: Anytime the majority of people behave a particular way the majority of the time – the problem isn’t the people – it’s the system. It’s the leader’s job to fix it.
Whirlwind – the energy required to keep the organization moving
4 Disciplines of Execution (Natural Laws of Evoking Change in People): (Disciplines)
  1. Focus
  2. Leverage
  3. Engagement
  4. Accountability
  1. Focus on the Wildly Important
    1. Goals in addition to the whirlwind (2-3 goals) # increase in operational goals, # decrease in excellence goals
    2. Goals achieved with excellence (2-3 goals)
    3. You must say no to good ideas – that’s how you reduce the # of goals and get focus
    4. There will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute.
    5. Separate all the energy it takes to maintain the whirlwind, from thwildlydy important
    6. WIG – Wildly Importnant Goal
    7. Key quesiton: What are the fewest number of battles necesary to win the war?
    8. The Primary WIG is made up of sub-Battle WIGs
    9. 3 Battles to Get to the Moon
      1. Navigation
      2. Propulsion
      3. Life Support
    10. Rules for Discipline
      1. Fewest Battles Necesary tot win the war
      2. One WIG per team at the same time
      3. You can veto, but don’t dictate to the subteams
      4. A WIGE must have a Gap (From X to Y by a Hard Time)
        1. JFK to NASA: We will put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade
        2. Accountability goes way up at NASA
        3. Morale and engagement dramatically increases at NAS
        4. Why: Because there’s a switch in people’s minds that GAME IS ON!
    11. Execution doesn’t like complexity
    12. Translate strategy to the front lines
    13. Simplicity and transparentcy are the 2 best friends
    14. WIG – is a lag measure
  2. Act on the Lead Measure
    1. Define the Lead Measures that are predictive and directs the WAG
      1. Lag Measures vs Lead Measures
      2. The lead measures are always actionable
      3. Everybody knows diet, very few know the number of calories consumed vs spent precisely
    2. Give the front line your best thinking/ideas to drive lead measures, but don’t dictate
    3. Payless’ leading indicator was the # of feet measured drove revenue
    4. Bad News: Lead measures are hard to get
    5. Good News: The team will engage the puzzle to figure it out
    6. Bad News: The team will forget in 3 days
  3. Keep a complelling Scoreboard
    1. People play differently when they are keeping score (not when the boss keeps score)
      1. Look for a players scorecard, not a directive scoeboard
    2. Simple, highly measurable
    3. Tells us immediately if we are winning or losing
    4. Focus on simplicity
  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability
    1. The #1 driver of morale or engagement is whether the person feels they are winning
    2. Disciplines #1-3 create a winnable game
    3. Do the people who work for me feel like they are winning the game?
    4. Each Week: What are the 1-3 things I can do this week to drive the WAG this week?
    5. The key things you do each week are the things you wouldn’t know how to do and are NEVER URGENCT
    6. In the moment, urgency always trumps importance
    7. WIG Meeting:
      1. Report on last week’s commitment
      2. Review and Update the scoreboard
      3. Based on that: What’s my commitment for next week (don’t give people their commitment)
200,000 teams are running a WIG Process
You must pull information our of an organization- it’s not dictating.
The natural rules for strategy just happened to also be the same rules for engagement.
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