‘The 4 Disciplines of Execution’ by C. McChesney, S. Covey and J. Huling

This highly recommended and bestselling business book is a set of practices that have been tested by many organisations, to help them turn plans and strategies into action. Although the book helps organisations, it is just as helpful for individuals. The book gives advice, based on experience and practice, on how to achieve goals, have meaningful work, and get successful results and stay focused in the midst of a “whirlwind” of priorities.

Discipline One: Focus on the Wildly Important

By focusing on less you get to achieve more. Instead of focusing on or trying to do everything at once, select one or two most important goals, and focus your finest efforts on those instead of giving mediocre focus on many goals at once. This will also help you become clear about what matters the most.

Discipline Two: Act on the Lead Measures

Some actions have more impact than others, and those are the ones you should identify and focus on. This is the discipline of leverage. Your lead measures are those of the most high-impact things you should do to reach your goal(s). These are measures you can predict and influence.

Discipline Three: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

When you’re keeping score you tend to play differently. When you’re tracking how you’re scoring, you become emotionally engaged and the result is a high level of performance. This is about engagement – knowing whether you are winning or losing the game.

Discipline Four: Create a Cadence of Accountability

You have to follow through with consistent action and operate with a high level of accountability. Commit to moving the score forward. Report on your commitments, review the scoreboard, and clear the path and make way for new commitments. This discipline is where the actual execution takes place.

The above has been simplified so that an individual can be able to understand and put it to practice. The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) can make a difference in your personal life too and the book is written in such a simple way that it’s not difficult to take what it advises an organisation, and chop it down to suit you as an individual or a small organisation.

Execution is challenging and this is what this book is for, giving you a framework of how to break through those challenges. When priorities are a mountain it becomes difficult to straighten them or get them done effectively. Here you’ll find ways to prioritize your time and focus on what matters the most. Goals differ, some are achievable and others aren’t, some are more important than others. The book helps you narrow down what matters the most.

It seems simple but you have to keep at it, commit. It’s one of those books you might want to keep revisiting as you go along, highlight important parts, or keep notes on the most important rules/guidelines. Depending on how fast you learn, it can be repetitive but that can be beneficial if you want to get every bit of detail and thoroughly understand it. It’s worth having.

Here’s What You Can Learn from ‘How Women Rise’ by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith

How Women Rise is an easy-to-read and useful map to finding your way through the maze of self-sabotage or self-defeat. It’s a helpful guide to helping you realise and change some of the habits that hold you back from rising.

What habits are holding you back?

The book does not ignore the fact that there are many external factors that can stand in your way, and it also does not fail to acknowledge that many of the habits are also found in men. It also explains and solves the problem of getting stuck, identifying where you are and what can help you move forward, as well as resisting change.

How Women Rise

It identifies 12 habits that keep women from reaching their goals and comes up with ways to change them. Some are related but have different roots and have different consequences.

Habit 1: “Reluctance to Claim Your Achievements.”

The focus here is on keeping your head down and shrinking into yourself in order to avoid coming off as ‘obnoxious’. Among the solutions offered there’s the ‘art of self-promotion’, which entails being bold enough to sell yourself effectively.

Habit 2: “Expecting Others to Spontaneously Notice and Reward Your Contributions.”

This shows how this behaviour can be self-sabotaging and how your hard work can end up being overlooked. It’s better to take a proactive approach and take the responsibility of saying what it is you’re doing, accomplishing and where you’d like to be.

Habit 3: “Overvaluing Expertise.”

If you invest all your energies on mastering every detail of the job you have then you are really working hard to keep that job. This will not help you if you’re trying to position yourself for an opportunity for the next level.

Habit 4: “Building Rather Than Leveraging Relationships.”

While building relationships is great, it doesn’t mean leveraging relationships means you’re a self-serving person. This section helps you realise how leveraging works, how forming healthy win-win relationships will contribute to your professional success.

Habit 5: “Failing to Enlist Allies from Day One.”

When starting a new position, keeping your head down until you’ve mastered the details so that you’re fully prepared will not help you. It can help to reach out and connect with people – create allies. You’ll learn about the importance of allies, mentors, sponsors, and more.

Habit 6: “Putting Your Job before Your Career.”

If you’ve worked so hard to get to a certain position, only to find yourself stuck there for ages then you may be busy putting so many efforts in the position you have that you may have neglected to work on the position you want. Be aware of the loyalties you have that keep you from moving up and learn how to have a healthy self-interest.

Habit 7: “The Perfection Trap.”

This is about wanting to get every detail right and being hard on yourself because you don’t want to mess up. This section highlights the cost of perfectionism and how to rather, healthily, deliver excellent results by learning to do things such as delegating and taking measured risks.

Habit 8: “The Disease to Please.”

Here you’ll check your habit of wanting to be a nice and wonderful person in all circumstances and always make everyone around you feel good, which is impossible. You’ll learn about curing your chronic ‘pleasing disease’ and how to focus on your priorities.

Habit 9: “Minimizing.”

This habit is about making yourself smaller or taking a seat at the back just so that you can always acknowledge the existence of others. This will help break the habit of physically and metaphorically shrinking yourself, undermining your abilities, and believing that others are more deserving than you.

Habit 10: “Too Much.”

You may be called “too much”- too emotional, too intense, or too enthusiastic, and may end up getting into the habit of repressing your feelings. This section will guide you to finding value in your emotions, harnessing them, and making them work for you.

Habit 11: “Ruminating.”

The focus here is on clinging to the past and focusing on dissecting past mistakes. This leads to a lot of self-blame, agonizing over things that may have set you back have already passed. You’ll learn how to break free from this negative position and how to move on.

Quote from ‘How Women Rise’

Habit 12: “Letting Your Radar Distract You.”

Your ability to notice a lot of things at once may be a strength but it has its downsides. Your focus may also be going to unhelpful distractions and have negative effects such as being hyper-aware of other people’s reactions that you may end up ruminating, shrinking, or being hard on yourself.

The above habits come with helpful tools to mitigate them. It’s a smooth read, nothing complicated or hard to follow. I’m pretty sure there will definitely be at least one habit that you associate with and this book will help you make a difference.

Cheers!

Goldsmith, M, Helgesen S. How Women Rise. 2018. Penguin Random House UK.

Book Review: Tribes by Seth Godin

“We need you to lead us.”

The Internet has broken down geographical boundaries and made it easier to create movements, groups of people who share ideas, and spread messages of empowerment and growth. These groups are called tribes and they’re flourishing everywhere. Tribes is about these movements and the connections they have, the connections that need you as a leader to create a platform where they share the same belief and spread their ideas.

Seth Godin reminds us that these leaders of tribes can come from anywhere and can be anyone. The barriers of leadership have been brought down and it’s no longer left to top executives or managers to lead. And so, Godin asks, why not you? Why not now?

“I’m not sure where I’m going. I’ll lead.” – Emmanuelle Heyman

He recommends two things to create a movement – shared ideas and a way to communicate. Godin talks about being a heretic, an outsider, someone with novel ideas and someone willing to step forward to make a difference. He does agree that fear exists but that you should drown it out by telling yourself a different story. There is no way around discomfort but through it.

Just as he has mentioned in Linchpin, he reminds us again of the need to ditch the factory path. Tribes do remarkable things, they do innovative things and the marketplace rewards innovation. In Tribes he also strongly discourages sheep behaviour, or what he calls sheepwalking. Leaders of tribes initiate and where they’re told an idea is stupid or impossible, they go first.

I’ve read Purple Cow and Linchpin and this one is my favourite.

It addresses a problem that organisations have – people stuck in the status quo and being afraid to lead without authority. He provides effective solutions. In this fast-paced world where people are constantly in search of remarkable products and services, organizations need everyone, regardless of their position, to lead.

What I love about Seth Godin’s books, is the way he writes in a free and simple way. Anyone can understand. As a marketing guru one would expect his work to speak only to those with an ear trained for marketing but anyone, in any career, can grasp his message and most importantly, use it.

I’d recommend it for people who want to do away with mediocrity and are in search of a way to use their passion and vision to spread great ideas and change. If you want your product or service to really meet your customers’ needs and make sure that you build connections that lead to more connections, then grab a copy of Tribes. It will inspire you and change the way you see and do things.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

For more of his work, visit his webiste, Seth Godin

Title: Tribes

Author: Seth Godin

Published: Piatkus, 2008

Genre: Self-help