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4DX: A Framework for Success in Elementary Schools

In public education, the "whirlwind" is the day-to-day work that keeps educators busy with immediate tasks and concerns. This can include everything from responding to student behavior issues to attending department meetings. The whirlwind can significantly limit strategy execution because it leaves little time for reflection or planning. When educators constantly react to the demands of the moment, they may need help seeing the big picture or making long-term plans. This can lead to a lack of focus and direction in their work. Additionally, the whirlwind can create a sense of urgency that makes it difficult to make thoughtful decisions about important issues. To execute strategies effectively, public educators must find ways to slow down the whirlwind and take time for reflection and planning.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a framework for achieving success. According to the 4DX framework, focusing on lead and lag measures will compensate for the whirlwind. Lead measures directly impact your ability to achieve your goal, while lag measures reflect whether or not you have reached your goal. The 4DX framework recommends creating a "WIG" - a Wildly Important Goal - to focus our attention and efforts. The WIG or Wildly Important Goal can be a valuable component to implementing innovative ideas in an elementary school setting because it provides teachers and administrators with a clear focus for their efforts.

The 4DX framework also recommends investing more time and energy in lead measures than lag measures because lead measures are more predictive of success.

To be successful in our implementation, 4DX states that we must follow the four disciplines.

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important: We must identify and prioritize the fewest, most important goals impacting our elementary campuses. In our case, we need to decide who will be responsible for creating the videos, how often they will be created, and what format they will take. The team tasked with this project would also need to create a schedule for filming and editing the videos so they are ready for the day's morning announcements. Finally, they would need to communicate with teachers and staff about the new system so that everyone is on board and knows what is expected of them.

  2. Act on Lead Measures: We must keep track of metrics to help us achieve our goals. It's essential to choose lead measures closely related to our overall goal so we can see progress. We would need to accomplish the following:

    1. Set a goal for how many morning announcements the campus would like to make each week, and then track progress against that goal.

    2. Designate a team to be responsible for creating the morning announcements each day and hold them accountable for doing so.

    3. Provide training for staff members on creating effective morning announcements, and measure whether or not they are following best practices.

    4. Ensure access to quality equipment and materials is needed to produce high-quality morning announcements daily.

  3. Create a Compelling Scoreboard: We must clearly and accurately track progress toward our goals. It is crucial to ensure everyone on our team can see the scoreboard and understand how their actions contribute to it.

    1. The questions below will determine our success:

      1. Increased student engagement?

      2. Improved academic performance?

      3. Decreased tardiness rates?

    2. The metrics questions below will accurately reflect progress toward our goal:

      1. What is the total amount of schools using video-based morning announcements?

      2. How often are video-based morning announcements being used, and by whom?

      3. What do surveys say about students' attitudes toward the announcements?

    3. Create and implement a real-time visual scoreboard to track progress: This could be as simple as creating a table with columns for each metric and rows for each week or month, or it could be more elaborate (e.g., an online dashboard).

  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability: We must set up regular check-ins with our team to review progress, give feedback, and course correct as needed. Holding each other accountable will help ensure that everyone is always moving toward the same goal.

    1. School administrators must meet weekly to review the previous week's video morning announcements and identify areas for improvement.

    2. Classroom teachers must view the video morning announcements each day with their students and discuss any questions or comments afterward.

    3. A student committee will be responsible for creating, filming, and editing the videos each week under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

    4. We must continue to improve upon the model by making adjustments (based on the feedback collected).

By aligning all of our activities around a single goal, we can ensure everyone is working towards the same outcome. Everyone working towards a common goal will help improve student performance and increase overall efficiency within the school.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution in a Nutshell

Move Your Middle

4DX OS (Operating System) Overview

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