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The Four Disciplines of Execution Simply Understood for Ministry Leaders: Part 2 of 3

Welcome back! Last week’s blog was all about focusing on the WIG. If you missed that blog, hop over and check it out now! This week, we are going to explore Discipline 2.


Let’s start by explaining the difference between a LAG measure and a LEAD measure. As mentioned in a previous blog on Build Measure Learn, if you are not measuring your results, you are not learning!

LAG—Measures the results achieved towards your WIG.

Think of this as lagging behind. It’s something you measure after the fact, and it’s hard to do anything about it after it’s already happened. This measure will tell you if you’ve achieved your goal or not. If your goal is to have 100 attend a Bible study and 115 people show up, you can say you achieved your goal. If 60 show up, you can say you haven’t.

LEAD—Measure the behaviors or actions that affect the lag measure.

LEAD measures tell you if you are likely to achieve your goal. If your goal is to have 100 people show up to the Bible study, but you don’t send out an invitation and, instead, let the small group leaders “organically” invite people through word of mouth, it’s not surprising that you’d have a small turnout. But if you say, “I’m going to make sure all ten of my small group leaders invite at least 25 people through word of mouth,” and then you check in with each of the leaders to make sure they have extended, or at least have gotten close to, 25 invites, you are likely to see a greater turnout.

If our actions, our lead measures, are not producing the desired lag outcomes, you have the ability to change them. They are totally in your control. You adjust your actions and then remeasure until you find the right one that moves the needle in the right direction. Build Measure Learn!

Discipline 2 is the discipline of leverage. We only act on the LEAD measures! This requires you to define the daily or weekly actions that will lead to the LAG goal. Then each day or week, your ministry team identifies the most important actions driving those LEAD measures.

In Discipline 2, you create LEAD measures, the movement of which will become the driving force for achieving the WIG. LEAD measures must be predictive and influential.

Achieving your WIG is like trying to move a giant rock. But despite all the energy your team exerts, it doesn’t move. The problem is that effort alone isn’t enough. LEAD measures act like a lever, making it possible to move that rock.

Finding the right lever among many possibilities is probably the toughest challenge for leaders. To achieve a goal you’ve never achieved before, you must do things you’ve never done before. Analyze any barriers you foresee with your team then and decide together how to overcome them. From that list select the activities you believe will have the greatest impact on achieving the WIG.

So let's say our church ministry has determined that our biggest WIG for the next 6 months is to increase positive brand awareness in the community. My communications team has determined that their team WIG is to increase our social medial presence so that the community can be more aware of our ministry. Their WIG is: Increase Instagram followers from 130 to 200 in 6 months. And the actions they feel will get them there are:

  • Posting 3 unique creative ministry-related posts each week on IG

  • Responding to at least 8 comments per week on IG

  • Commenting to 5 new people on pages we follow each week

All of these three actions can be directly affected by doing or not doing. So we can then measure the Lead measure. We posted 7 unique images for the week. Check. We made 8 comments for the week. Check. We commented on 5 pages that we follow. Check.

Now, we measure our impact. The LAG measure. In seven days, we increased followers by three new people. So, if we keep at this pace each week, we are projected to increase by 78 new followers in six months, and our WIG will be met! Success!

If the results were less than you expected or you want to speed up the impact, adjust your LEAD measures!

One of the most challenging aspects of LEAD measures is simply getting the data because it requires extra effort—above and beyond LAG-measure data. Without data, you can’t drive performance on the LEAD measures; without LEAD measures, you don’t have leverage.

Next week, we are going to wrap up with the last two disciplines, so do not forget to subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when it posts. In that blog, you’ll hear about one of the most critical points to all of the four disciplines. Stay tuned! Let the ULC know if we can serve you in any way to build a leadership development culture. Our next year-long Accelerator starts in August. We would love to have your church’s leadership team join us!

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