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Arla Emerick

Director of Technology
Raymore-Peculiar Schools

The secret of getting

things done, on time
and with excellence
Stephen R. Covey
Arla Emerick EDAI 640

The Challenge: Ability to

Leadership without the discipline of execution is

incomplete and ineffective. Without the ability to execute

all other attributes of leadership become hollow
Larry Bossidy Chairman, Honeywell International


70% of strategic failures are due to poor execution
of leadership.
Its rarely for lack of smarts or vision.

Source: Charan, R. and Colvin, G. Why CEOs Fail,

Fortune, June 21, 1999.

The Work environment


Do people know what to do?



Do they want to do it?



Only 19% feel a strong sense of commitment to the companys goals

Do they know how to do it?



44% of employees say they dont know their companys highest priorities

9% believe their work has a strong link to their organizations top priorities

Do they have the discipline?


People spend less than half their time (49%) on activities linked to the organizations key


Do they work together?


Only 31% feel they can express themselves honestly and candidly at work

The 4 Disciplines of Execution

Focus on the Wildly Important
Act on the Lead Measures
Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
Create a Cadence of Accountability

Focus on the Wildly Important

Discipline 1 Focus on the wildly important (goals) -

Work with your team to have well crafted goals that

make sense and can be measured against some
deadline. At high level, goals should be aligned with
your district Comprehensive School Improvement

Act on the Lead Measures

Discipline 2 Act on the Lead Measures What do we

do all about goals to achieve them?

To achieve goals youve never achieved before, you need
to start doing things youve never done before.
It is the Goal Breakdown Structure portion of project

management: i.e. breaking the goals down to specific


We need to employ creative new and better thinking

process to break goals into specific actions of weekly

bite-size chunks.

Create a compelling scoreboard

Discipline 3 Create a compelling scoreboard People

play differently when theyre keeping score. Scoreboard

should reflect three things
1. where are we now;
2. where we want to be;
3. when do we need to be there.

These three points should be communicated visually. It

enables us to track progress and make corrective

actions, if we get off-track.

Create a Cadence of Accountability

Discipline 4 Hold each other accountable all of the

time It is level of mutual accountability and knowing

others are counting on you raises your level of
commitment. It requires that team stay engaged and
aware of results being achieved.

Case Study :
Pleasant Hill Technology Department
The need arises each summer to manage summer work projects in
an effective manner to start school without technology disruption.
Status of department
Work orders for the month of August average 33% of TOTAL work
orders for the year.

(2008 500 work orders in this month)

3 people in the department with 3 different specific responsibilities,

i.e. silos, no team atmosphere.

Recent years experience for beginning of school has been less than


Strategy: The Wildly Important

Presented department with the concept of creating

goals and timelines for summer projects.

As a department we determined 2 specific goals.
Decrease the number of work orders between August 1st

and September 1st by 50%

Decrease the time to complete work orders by 50%

Act on the Lead Measures

Each person in the department created a list of all the

projects in the persons area of focus to be completed

during the summer to eliminate work orders in
Each person developed a time line beginning May 18th
until August 1st to ensure all projects assigned to the
person are completed.
Each person reviewed the other team members lists
for collaboration on time lines and to ensure all
necessary projects were assigned and on the schedule.

Keep a compelling scoreboard

After goals were decided, and projects assigned we

discussed how to keep score

At the suggestion of one of the members, he thought it
should be a horse race. (he wanted to be a stallion!)
Dollar General did not have a stallion, but a princess
ponies (white purple and pink) deciding this may hurt
moral, I opted for the 4 wheelers.
The theme became a race track.
The slogan taking the SH out of IT

Create a cadence of accountability

Each morning a department meeting discussing

progress (20 minutes max) and the ceremony of

starting your engines (moving your 4 wheeler to
another milestone)
Talk about needed purchases, or how to approach an

issue or problem that may have been encountered.

This process creates a team atmosphere and ensures

each team member is aware of the progress of the


Case Study Raymore Peculiar

The Raymore Peculiar school district did not have a
comprehensive work order system in place from which
to gather data.
The status of the department was unknown.
A survey was administered to all faculty and staff to

The technological needs of the district

The effectiveness of the technology department

Strategy: The Wildly Important

Analyzed the survey from district employees and

categorized into 3 main goals

Decrease mileage by 25%
Put technology information the newsletter once a

Survey patrons at the end of each semester and continue
to receive excellent ratings.

Act on the Lead Measures

Each person was assigned to goals
Each person was required to list out all tasks for

meeting the goals that were assigned

Each person met with other team members to ensure
all tasks were adequate and not duplicated by
members of the department.

Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

The department chose to create a football field with

the milestones to span the 1st semester of the school

As the items on the tasks sheets were completed, the
football players moved across the field
The slogan for the department was voted on and
became Doin I.T. Right this slogan is the header of
the scoreboard and is part of all our email signatures.

Create a Cadence of Accountability

Each time someone enters the department, the

scoreboard is visible. This creates an atmosphere of

accountability with our peers and with other building
staff members.
At each milestone date it is easy to assess the progress of

the team members with a quick visual.

Any team member not at the milestone is asked about
the progress and offer help to reach the milestone.

Analyzing Results
In January, the department met and discussed successes

from the previous semester.

Using work order information, all tech work orders were
analyzed and discussed.
As a department, we determined the next semester
We then began the process over again by
1. Focusing on the Wildly Important,
2. Acting on the Lead Measures,
3. Designing a Compelling Scoreboard
4. Creating a Cadence of Accountability

In Summary
The 4 Disciplines of Execution has changed the way I

manage, the way I work and the way the department

functions as a team.
The compelling scoreboard is visible to all staff and
has created an atmosphere of accountability never
before achieved both inside and outside the
In other words IT ROCKS!