4DX and Beyond

         One thing I have learned about teachers in my fifteen years of teaching is that the majority of them detest change. They get comfortable with how and what they are doing and see no reason for change. Every year at our inservice days and technology days I hear the same thing over and over, “I don’t see why we have to waste our time listening to these people,” “This is a total waste of time,” “These classes have nothing to do with me or my students,” I could go on and on. The point is most teachers are not perceptive to learning new things unless it directly relates to and will benefit their class or teaching techniques. That is were I think my plan will move ahead of other ideas, plans, techniques that we are forced to listen to at our inservice meetings.

My Innovation Plan is to have all of my Art I students create an e-portfolio. In order for this to be successful I will need the support of my colleagues. As an educator I feel it is my obligation to make sure my students are getting the best education they possibly can in every class, not just mine. One way of doing this is helping my colleagues incorporate technology into their classroom. I need them to understand the importance and urgency to implement this digital tool in the classroom. In order for them to fully support this effort they will have to build and utilize an e-portfolio for themselves. I will urge them to eventually have their students use an e-portfolio to do assignments, share ideas/projects, and give their students feedback in which they will have access to at any point.

I used the Influencer Model and the Six Sources of Influence found in Joseph Grenny’s book Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change to help derive my desired results, create some vital behaviors, describe ways to implement e-portfolios, and point of possible challenges. This Influence Plan pointed out how I plan to implement a positive change for my colleagues.

Anytime we are asked to create something or integrate something new into our teaching process we are hesitant because we often see it as more work in our already hectic schedule. Our day to day duties, or the whirlwind,  are already more than most of us can handle without adding something new in. It is my goal to show my colleagues how they can create an e-portfolio and eventually integrate them into their classroom while pushing through the whirlwind.     

I will now create a plan using The 4 Disciplines of Execution paired with the 5 stages of change set forth by McChesney, Covey, and Huling (2012) to assist me and my colleagues in achieving a Wildly Important Goal (WIG).   

5 Stages of Change

Stage 1: Getting Clear

This is going to be the most difficult part of this implementation. It is always hard to get people to understand that they can benefit from change. I will have a class at the technology days section of the inservice at the first of school to introduce e-portfolios. This will be my opportunity to try to make things clear to my colleagues.   The Covey Goal Setting video (2012) describes the implementation of the 4DX model in several different kinds of settings. In the Goal Setting video, Covey discusses working with a partner for accountability for training for a marathon or a weight loss plan. I will partner with the department heads to get them to start implementing the e-portfolio movement. My role is to provide the technical information needed and assist when necessary.

Stage 2: Launch

Covey’s Phase 2 is is all about starting to implement the change. He calls it the “Launch” (p. 109). There is a need for intense involvement on my part at this point to remain focused on the goal and commitment to the 4DX implementation plan.  

Selecting a launch date is crucial to the success of the plan. I will wait until the third week of school. It will give me time to create the scoreboard and share a preview of  it with the team. I will schedule a team meetings and explain the scoreboard and how it will be used to reach the goals..

Accountability starts with a short, mandatory, weekly meeting of the team. There are only three things discussed: Did you keep your commitments, what was the impact on the scoreboard, and what are your 1-3 commitments for the next week that will most impact the scoreboard? Focus on reaching the goal cannot be diverted. No issues from the whirlwind can be discussed at the Wildly Important Goal meeting.

Stage 3: Adoption

Covey suggests that as the weeks go by and the team adapts to the 4DX process, Stage 3, Adoption, starts (p. 109). It is during this phase that the team’s new behaviors drive achievement, their resistance fades, their accountability grows, and by watching the scoreboard, morale goes up (p. 109).

It is during Stage 3 that I will use Joseph Grenny’s Influencer model’s impact. In the book, Grenny explains that in order for any change process to be successful, there has to be engagement of all six sources of influence that identifies the motivational and ability influences on a personal, social, and structural level (p. 28-34). These strategies will be used to support struggling team members while holding them accountable.

Stage 4: Optimization

As the team experiences success, there will be a shift in mindset. Covey calls Stage 4 “Optimization” (p. 110). It is during this stage that  motivational strategies will be used in weekly meetings to encourage and recognize creative solutions, recognize follow through, and motivate the team to become models of 21st century skills and clear a path for members who may still be resistant.

Stage 5: Habits

Covey’s final stage is designed to create a culture of excellent execution. He calls stage 5 “Habits” (p. 112) At this point there is a “permanent rise in the level of the team’s performance” (p. 112).  In order to keep the 4DX moving forward, the entire team must continue to celebrate accomplishments, help struggling team members, and immediately create new goals weekly.  

Stages of Change and The 4 Disciplines of Execution

Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important (Getting Clear)

Taking the whirlwind into consideration I have given myself what I feel like is ample time to help my colleagues create an e-portfolio. We must have a clear goal that everyone can agree upon in order to advance this plan forward. As a starting point I have created a WIG that we can improve upon when we come together as a group.

75% of the teachers in my high school will create and utilize an e-portfolio by September 30,  2018 in order to understand the importance of this digital tool and the urgency to implement e-ports in the classroom.

I will meet with the department heads to create a lag measure. Lag measurements are what we want, they tell you where the finish is. The lag measure will be something along the lines of this: 100% of the teachers involved in this movement will be using their e-portfolio by December 2017. That gives them three months to learn how to use it and begin putting assignments and information in it for students. After we decide what is going to be best for our colleagues we will meet with everyone involved to share the WIG and lag measure. We will compile 2-3 clear goals and lead measures to attain our WIG.

In order to move my plan forward I have to identify what it will take to make it happen successfully. This will be done by creating lag and lead measures, creating a scoreboard to see if we are moving forward, and set up weekly meetings to check for accountability.  

Discipline 2: Act on the Lead Measure (Launch and Adoption)

There has to be leverage in order to reach our WIG. What will be the leverage to encourage my colleagues to join forces with me? The leverage will be making our students to excel using technology. We will have to create lead measures as a group to reach our WIG.   

Lead measures lead the goal, they are influenceable and predictive. This is what we should lead by. An example of what one of our lead measures could be to help achieve the lag measure of 100% usage of the e-portfolio could be: Share other teachers e-ports with colleagues to show them how they are benefiting from using it.

The lead measures will be created at our first group meeting in September 2017. Some of the questions we will have to ask ourselves when creating the lead measures are:

  • Are they predictive?
  • Are they influenceable?
  • Are they an ongoing process or a “once and done”?
  • Can they be measured?
  • Are they worth measuring?

Discipline 3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard (Optimization)

One of the most important things that will need to be done is to create a way to show my colleagues if we are meeting our goals or not. This will be done by creating a scoreboard. Just like a scoreboard for any sporting event shows who is winning or losing with a glance, our scoreboard will show if we are winning or losing. This will be judged on whether we meet our goals or not.  The scoreboard has to be simple, visible, show lead and lag, and my teammates should be able to tell if we are reaching our goals or not.  My scoreboard is going to have two sections with the WIG posted across the top.

  • On the left will be a line graph with 0-100% and on the bottom I will have September – December.  This graph will show the percentage of teachers who have created and started learning how to use their e-portfolio. (This will be updated the second semester to show the percentage of teachers who are actually using their e-portfolios in class from January – May.)
  • On the right of the scoreboard our goals will be listed across the bottom. The teacher’s name will be placed above the goal as they are met. This will be made so that more goals can be added as the goals are met.  

This scoreboard will be placed in the teacher’s lounge for everyone to see. This will encourage the teachers who are participating to stay on task to meet goals. It will also let teachers who are not participating see the advancements we are making and hopefully get on board with the technology movement.

Discipline 4: Create a Cadence of Accountability (Habits)

To ensure we are working toward our Wildly Important Goal we must reach our weekly goals first. We have to hold ourselves accountable for attaining our weekly goals. Having a 15- 20 minute meeting once a week where all we talk about is things relevant to the WIG, not the whirlwind, is going to keep everyone on track. Although I do see some challenges in setting up a meeting that everyone can attend weekly. It will enforce accountability. If we can see and talk about the progress or lack of progress with others face to face it will make everyone want to succeed. Each week we will come up with a few things we can do during the week and share. It will also be a good time to update the scoreboard to see who has met their goals, and set new goals for the next week.

Influencer vs. 4DX

I have spent an ample amount of time over the past few weeks developing a plan to implement my innovation plan and get my colleagues involved. It has been very time consuming and required a lot of thought. I don’t think anyone realizes how complicated or how much work goes on behind the scenes to create a change. Two different models have been included in my work, the Influencer and 4 Disciplines of Execution. I think the Influencer and the 4DX models can work together. The Influencer includes an emotional connection to incorporating the change where the 4DX does not. I like the idea of setting small goals and publicly displaying if they are reached are not. This makes everyone involved accountable and is a driving force to make them reach the goals. I will use parts of both models in my implementation.


Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change: 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. New York, NY: Free Press.


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