A year’s worth of goals in just 12 weeks
The 12 Week Year
By Brian P. Moran and Michel Lennington
January is a chance for new beginnings and goal setting. For most of us, a year is the timeframe in which we measure our personal and business goals, but there are some inherent downsides to planning goals due 12 months from now. January creates excitement and focus that quickly fade when you have 11 more months to finish your accomplishments. Losing focus or not giving enough effort can soon lead to falling behind on progress. Many people and organizations still accomplish goals in 12 months yet there is a gap. The gap is between what could have been accomplished and what actually is accomplished.
The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington emphasizes this gap and proposes a new way to approach your thinking toward goals and accomplishments. The 12 Week Year isn’t really a book about goal-setting. Moran and Lennington didn’t come up with any revolutionary breakthroughs or find the lost secret to winning in life and business. What they did find was an implementation strategy that works.
The authors’ strategy starts with thinking about implementation and time horizons. Their focus is on accomplishing goals in 12-week segments, as the book title suggests. This is a shift for most of us, even when we make yearly goals and break them up into quarters. Moran suggests not a quarter, but a 12 Week Year. A 12-month timeframe is too far of a horizon to stay focused and accomplish your goals. In this framework, every 12 weeks is your new year.
The second focus of The 12 Week Year is the actual implementation. The program for how to approach your 12 weeks is not profound in the mind-blowing sense but is practical, straightforward, and effective. The authors start with vision then focus on goals, then pinpoint the tasks needed to accomplish those goals. The most impactful part for me is the weekly focus.
This weekly focus is not just about working on goals each week, but about being intentional from the beginning. Setting goals for the 12 weeks happens before day one. Once the goals are set, Moran and Lennington advise planning the tactics on a weekly schedule. As soon as the 12 weeks begin, you know what tasks need to be done each week. I’ve found it easier than you might think to set this 12-week plan.
The final part of intentionality and implementation is the weekly plan. On Sunday night or Monday morning, you take the tasks already planned for the week and set a day and time to do it. This pointed, time-specific planning is vital to success and requires commitment.
The 12 Week Year system uses eight elements. Three of these elements are what Moran and Lennington call Principles: Accountability, Commitment, and Greatness In the Moment. The last five are called Disciplines: Vision, Planning, Process Control, Measurement, and Time Use. I think it is safe to say these principles and disciplines are not new to you if you are reading this book review or reading The 12 Week Year. These elements and their execution are laid out in a well-defined and simple way, which is what makes the book so powerful.
The routine the authors built into the 12-week process is also helpful. The basis of the routine is to plan your week, score your week, and participate in a Weekly Accountability Meeting. A perfect score each week is not necessary. Moran and Lennington suggest that a score of 65% to 85% (on completing your planned tasks) still means you will make significant progress towards your goals. The weekly score itself is not as important as getting the work done and making progress every week.
How you plan to accomplish your goals is just as important as the goal itself. Whether you call them goals, resolutions, targets, quotas, or objectives, you will need a plan to get them done no matter how you define your plans for the year. Moran and Lennington’s 12 Week Year is a great way to plan and accomplish the tasks needed to be successful.
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About Phil Klutts
Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.
In addition to being the co-owner of Edmond Business, Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.