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I began this four-part series to give me opportunity to process how I might apply the principles from The 4 Disciplines of Execution to my own work as an instructional coach.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by McChesney, Covey and Huling

A quick recap of the first three disciplines–

Discipline One—focus energy on the one or two goals that will effect the greatest difference.

Discipline Two—apply disproportionate energy to the tasks that drive the measures (lead measures vs. lag measures) most connected to achieving the goal(s).

Discipline Three—work to keep all team members acutely aware of the score at all times so they are clear on what constitutes “winning”.

And now, a look at the final discipline.

Discipline Four—create a cadence of accountability.

Creating a cadence of accountability is critical for bringing team members together and it’s clear to see that this discipline acts to bind the others as one cohesive whole.

The focus on accountability keeps members of the team from being overwhelmed by the whirlwind. Meeting  weekly for twenty to thirty minutes supports the group in maintaining the momentum for accomplishing the Wildly Important Goal.

Seems simple, right?

It actually is quite simple.

Grade level teams who make a concerted effort to meet weekly are able to maintain focus and hold one another accountable for intentional actions that lead to the realization of the group goal. I’ve watched this year as one team in particular fleshed this out. When they meet they restate the goal, quickly summarize the steps for accomplishing the goal and looks closely at days remaining to the agreed upon deadline. Last week they met to review the data collected over the previous two days. Student groups were adjusted and each teacher shared specific plans for instruction that targeted individual students’ needs.

The most interesting part of the short meeting was listening to teachers talk about students who were not even in their own classrooms. Those conversations were able to take place because this team has been meeting weekly since the beginning of the school year. These teachers seem to have moved effortlessly from talking about “my” kids to “our” kids.

McChesney, Covey and Huling posit that the cadence of accountability lies in the powerful protocol of the weekly meeting which includes time spent on:

Reporting out on commitments

Reviewing the scoreboard by recalling successes and setbacks

Removing obstacles and making new commitments

So often teachers feel alone and overwhelmed by the crazy amount of work that must be done to ensure that all students succeed. Discipline 4 allows teachers to work in a team environment to focus on the important goal, look closely at evidence of progress toward the goal and seize the opportunity to make the adjustments needed before summative assessment results are collected.

I’m grateful for the model put forth in this book, The 4 Discipline of Execution and how perfectly it applies to my role in education.

Incredibly grateful, too, that there is still so much more for me to learn.