The Four Disciplines of Getting Things Done, Part 1

A great strategy without execution is merely wishful thinking, a dream on paper that is never translated into real life. I have found that many leaders, organizations, and ministries struggle with execution, with actually getting things done.

The book Four Disciplines of Execution has provided a sticky mental framework for me on leading teams to execute. Over the next couple of posts, I will share “four disciplines of getting things done.” I have seen these four disciplines bear fruit with ministries and teams I have led and am leading.


Many churches and organizations run after too many goals or initiatives at a time. Thus, they never realize the power of focus, of leveraging resources and people toward an overarching and important goal. Instead of having a list of 10 things, have a list of 1-2 really important goals. Run after these hard for a season. And once they are accomplished, effectively embed them into the regular and essential ebb and flow of work. Some questions emerge:

But how do you focus on 1-2 important goals when there are other important aspects of the ministry or organization?

Just because something is not the priority for a season does not mean it is not important. The regular, ongoing aspects of the work/ministry are absolutely essential. But raising an initiative to the top for a season of sustained focus will always rally a team around a clear direction.

One possible way to think of the wildly important is to imagine the current ebb and flow as 80 percent of each team member’s work. The additional 20 percent of energy is allocated toward the wildly important goal. Once the goal is complete, it is moved into the ongoing ministry/work and you have a healthier and more effective “new normal.”

From a church perspective, the wildly important goal may be an initiative: launch a campus, start a church, serve our city over the next several months, launch X number of new groups. Or it could be a value you are seeking to further drive into the culture: hospitality, worship, etc.

Why don’t more leaders do this?

Admittedly, it is risky. It feels much safer to hedge your bets and focus on a plethora of things. When you focus on a few at a time, you feel like you put your leadership on the line for everyone to see. The reality is that focusing on everything is more risky. Because few great things are accomplished when everything is the priority. When everything is the priority, nothing really is.

Read Part 2 of this series here.

Read more from Eric here.

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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you so Much for this great article. It has open my eyes on where we have faltered and the things we need to work on. God can never indeed be the problem. It's us.
— Bertille

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