Clockwork Book Review (ACDC, QBR, & 4D Systems)

In blog, Books by Michael MicheliniLeave a Comment

Lets me spend more time with my daughter (and son) due to Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself

Another great management book I will be recommending other entrepreneurs to read alongside eMyth and Work the System and Traction – how are they all different? Well I am a junkie for reading these kinds of books – but some key points in this book that I didn’t get in the others is more KPI driven with examples, as well as a way to measure how much time you are spending each day on different types of tasks (I now measure mine daily, mind shifting). Thanks for creating this book and helping me focus on what matters more so I can spend more time with my kids.

Some of my biggest takeaways on this book

4Ds -As a business owner, think about where you are putting your time each day. He breaks it up in 4 “D”s:
In order of value / importance for the owner to actually do itL


– actually doing the work (which is the lowest of the 4D) – you should have people in the company doing the actual work.


– this is where a lot of business owners who get stressed out with working with online teams – telling them what to do. Deciding each and every part of the work, and when the business owner basically says “this takes as much time as actually just doing it myself – so why do I bother having others do it?!?”


– getting better – this is where you are outlining the tasks for someone to do and making sure they take RESPONSIBILITY for making sure that the task gets done. Difference with this and deciding is that delegating empowers the team member to make the decision and is responsible for the final result / KPI.


– this is the highest value of the 4D and is where you should spend the most time possible (yet most business owners close to almost ZERO on this one because they are “so busy”). This is where you are thinking strategically about your business, thinking about new products, new services, new strategic alliances, big moves in the company to move it forward.

Queen Bee Role (QBR)

He mentions the QBR – Queen Bee Role – which is the most valuable activity in the company. The unique process / product / function taht makes the company stand out from the rest. And that everyone in the company should know this QBR and protect this person / process from getting distracted doing other things.

And the second big acronym I got from this is ACDC. Which is kind of input and output, this is the KPI of a business, this can be setup as your business dashboard.

ACDC stands for:


Basically marketing. Getting eyeballs on your business – website, social media, email marketing, podcasts. Whatever it is that gets you QUALIFIED potential customers into your business funnel.


This is basically sales. This is taking those leads (from above) and making those into dollars. Whether with human people (sales staff) or automatically (email marketing) – notice email marketing can be in Attract and in Convert.


Basically operations department. Making the product, shipping the product. Ensuring that what you sold to your customer is what you said it would be.


(I may be wrong on the actual C here) but it means BOOKKEEPING. Financial control. Ensuring that you are turning a profit on all this work. Need to remember you are running a business not a charity (a mistake I make all too often in business.). Having a good process and KPI in place for this last part is essential.

So you can then make a spreadsheet that lists out columns for each of these ACDC and see how you are doing. Pick a KPI for each one -something like:

Over a certain period of time (daily / weekly / monthly)
A – attract – email subscribers
C – convert – new customers paid
D – deliver – are customers happy? Are you delivering on time (pick a number)
C – calculate (or count) – profit margin %

These are just examples – you can pick your own.

But these are my big takeaways – and I have been updating my morning journal to add in 4D and ACDC to keep me in “check” about where I am spending my time.

Definitely recommend picking up this book if you’re a business owner and serious about making it a standalone thing without your daily interventions. Buy Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself

Related Posts

Leave a Comment