In efforts to improve, most companies and individuals search for new idea and strategies. They seek out new marketing techniques, sales ideas, cost-cutting measures, and customer service enhancements, that these approaches will deliver better results.
However, the number one factor preventing individuals and entire companies from achieving what they are truly capable of is not a lack of knowledge, intellect, or information; it’s not some new strategy or idea; it’s not additional training; it’s not a large network of connected people; it’s not hard work, natural talent, or luck. All these do help, all play a part but they are not the things that make the difference.
You’ve heard the saying that knowledge is power . knowledge is only powerful if you use it, if you act on it. it benefits no one unless the person acquiring the knowledge does some thing with it. Great ideas are worthless unless they are implemented. The market place rewards only those ideas that get implemented. You can be smart; you can have access to lots of information and great ideas; you can be well-connected, work hard, and have lots of natural talent, but in the end, you have to execute.
The barrier standing between you and the lift you are capable of living is a lack of consistent execution. Effective execution will set you free; it is the path to accomplish the things you desire.
The Twelve Week Year
One thing that gets in the way of individuals and organizations effectively executing and achieving their best is the annual planning process. As strange as this may sound, annual goals and plans are often a barrier to high performance. This doesn’t mean annual goals and plans don’t have a positive impact. They do. There is no question you will do better with annual goals you will do better with annual goals and plans than without . However, this annual process inherently limits performance.
The trap is annualized thinking, at the heart of which is an unspoken belief that there is plenty of time in the year to make things happen. In January, December looks a long way off, because we mistakenly believe that there is plenty of time in the year, we act accordingly. We lack a sense of urgency, not realizing that every week is important, every day is important, every moment is important. Ultimately, effective execution happens daily and weekly.
Forget about a “year”, because we’re redefining it. A year is now a 12 weeks. That’s right: A year is now a 12 week period. There are no longer four periods in a year: That’s old thinking. Now, there is just a 12-week year, followed by the next 12-week year, ad infinitum. Each 12-week period stands on its own: it is your year.
Execution is the single greatest market differentiator. Great companies and successful individuals execute better that their competition.
The 12 Week Year creates a new endgame date, the point at which you assess your success (or lack thereof). It narrows your focus to the week and, more to the point, the day, which is when execution occurs. The 12 Week Year brings that reality front and centre. When you set your goals in the context of a 12-week year, you no longer have the luxury of putting off critical activities, thinking to yourself that there is plenty of time left in the year. Once 12 weeks becomes your year, then each week matters: each day matters: each moment matters.
The result is profound. Most people experience about a %30 improvement in goal achievement in their first 12 weeks when operating on the 12 Week Year platform. To achieve more in the next 12 seeks than most will in 12 months, simply follow these steps.
1. Set a 12-week goal
Start by establishing a 12-week goal. Annual goals are helpful but lack immediacy and urgency, whereas 12-week goals create focus and urgency.
Focus on what you want to make happen over the next 12-weeks. The goal should be an outcome-income, sales production, dollars saved, pounds lost-and represent significant progress towards your longer-term vision. Limit your goals to a maximum of three, and make certain each goal is specific and measurable.
2. Build a 12-week plan
12-week planning is much more effective than traditional planning because it is more predictable and focused. The key is less more. A 12-week plan embraces the notion “Let’s be great at a few things versus mediocre at many”.
For each goal, you need to identify tactics, the daily and weekly actions that drive its accomplishment. If the goal is the “where” then the tactics are the “how”. Again, less is more. Focus on the critical few. Identify the four or five actions you need to take daily and weekly to accomplish your goal. Those are your tactics.
3. Apply the weekly routine
Having a goal and a plan is helpful, but it’s not enough . The key to your success is executing your plan. To ensure you execute at a high level, adopt the weekly routine. If you do the following three things on a weekly basis you can’t help but get better.
Plan your week
Take a few minutes at the beginning of each week to plan your week. Use your 12-week plan to identify the tactics that are due this particular week. The weekly plan is not a glorified to-do list: rather, it reflects the critical strategic activity that needs to take place this week to achieve your 12-week goals.
Save your week
At the end of each week. score your execution. In the end, you have greater control over your actions than your outcomes. The most effective lead indicator you have is a measure of your execution. Your are scoring your execution, not your results. Calculate a weekly execution score by dividing the number of tactics completed by the number due.
Meet with a peer group
You are seven times more likely to be successful if you meet regularly with a group of your peers. Find two to three other people who are committed and willing to meet for 15 to 20 minutes each week. In your meeting, report on how you’re doing against your goals and how well you’re executing. Encourage and challenge one another.
That’s it-three simple steps. Plan your week, score your week, meet with a group of peers. How easy is that? Do them and you will improve-guaranteed. Here’s the catch: The steps are easy to do, and even easier not to do. Do make a commitment to engage with them for the next 12 weeks and watch what happens.