Forget about the annual planning
Here is the 12 week year system!
You don’t need the beginning of the year to decide that this year will be your best year ever.
Because the thing about New Year’s resolutions is we hardly stick to them if we even have these resolutions.
One of the reasons is: 1 year is a long time. And we tend to overestimate the things we can achieve in 1 year (and underestimate the things we can achieve in 10 years)
I have written a blog post about that and you can find it here.
Anyway, in my New Year’s resolution blog posts I talked about my 7-step planning system, something I do to try and achieve my annual goals. It is something that works fine by me, although not perfect. Remember, I’m not the best planner in the world, I admit.
I’m good at inspiring my clients to become good planners though 🙂
Now, in short, here is my 7-step planning system:
- Start with the most important thing: Plan your holidays and free time
- Identify your yearly business goals
- Plan your monthly goals – what do you have to do each month to achieve your yearly goals?
- Each month consists of about 4 weeks – you’ll get the picture I guess, write down your weekly goals and tasks and priorities. That’s your weekly to do list.
- And each weekday, have yourself a miracle morning if you wish (it has changed my life) and otherwise get yourself in a peak state by identifying your Number 1 What will you do today before you do anything else that will lead you to achieving your goals.
- At the end of every quarter, have a quarterly review and reflect on your business progress, your focus, your personal development, and do not forget your personal goals in private life.
- Have yourself a year-end business wrap-up. Reflect back on the business year, your progress, your sales, your achievements, your challenges, your breakthroughs…
It’s as simple as that.
Now this weekend I read the book the 12 week year by Brian P Morran and Michael Lennington. In short they claim that if you follow their system you will achieve more in 12 weeks than most of us achieve in 12 months.
Now how about that?! Interesting, I thought. So I read the book.
What I discovered is that it isn’t so different from what I’ve been doing at first sight.
I mean, I have my yearly goals and I translate them in monthly goals and next into weekly and daily goals.
So I could easily say “I’ll take my yearly goals and divide them into 4 quarterly goals and next have my monthly, weekly, daily goals. Right?
NOPE. That’s not how it works.
The authors say that you have to treat each quarter or 12 weeks as a complete business year. After those 12 years, you celebrate or have a vacation or so and then you start fresh with a new “year”.
That way you create a sense of urgency because your “yearly” goals have to be achieved in 12 weeks. Thus, no time to waste. You cannot say “oh, we have lots of time left”. No, you only have 12 weeks. So hurry up!
I kind of like the idea. However, it is important to have this time off once the “year” is over, because otherwise you’ll be constantly under pressure. Or at least that is my feeling.
Now how do you go about developing your 12-week-plan.?
First of all, I suggest you read the book.
However here’s a short summary, I repeat short summary.
1. Identify your personal life vision (in other words your WHY, your mission) – it’ important that your business vision is in line with your personal vision. Seems obvious, but we tend to forget it when we look at our yearly business plans
The point is that you should get your long-term vision down on paper. Think about where you would love to be in ten years’ time, even if you have no clue as to HOW you are going to get there.
In the beginning, if you ask “how?” you will most likely kill your vision because you clearly do NOT yet know HOW to achieve it.
2. Only AFTER you have written down your ten-year vision should you start to ask yourself “How might I achieve this?” Then, based on your ten-year vision, think about where you want to be in three years’ time and write it down on paper.
3. And then set goals for your first 12 week year.
4. Once you have done that, the process of managing your 12 week year begins. In other words, you translate your 12 week goal or goals into strategic/ critical tactics or tasks (don’t have too many goals and tasks, we only have 12 weeks, remember?), prioritize then and plan.
5. And make it a weekly routine: review and score your previous week and plan your next week.
As mentioned, the book goes into much more detail, but this gives you a taste of what the 12 week year system is like.
Last thing I would like to add to this system is the difference between what the authors call lead an lag indicators (you need to measure in order to know whether you are doing a good job).
- LAG INDICATORS are the obtained results: e.g. I attract 10 new clients for my new 6 month Personal Branding group program PROFICIENCY© (which I will be launching soon by the way, so contact me should you be interested 🙂 )
- LEAD INDICATORS are the actions/tactics to drive the results: e.g. call 100 prospects.
It’s important you measure and score both.
And the authors tell us you should score +85% on the lead indicators if you want to achieve your goal. If you still haven’t achieved your goal even though you scored + 85% go back to the drawing table, ie the planning table. Something is wrong with your plan.
And last but not least, if you want to increase your chances of success, have yourself a buddy or coach who will hold you accountable. Every week. That is what I do too.
Good luck !!
And I’m curious to know what you think about the 12 week year. And how you will achieve your “annual” goals. Tell us!
Share if you like! THANKS!!