I just finished reading “The 12 Week Year” by Brian Moran & Michael Lennington. This book is a great resource to move into an intentional year of execution as someone who wants to get things done and boost productivity like never before. I hope this synopsis taken from the book kick-starts you into something that rocks your 2017 world and beyond. Enjoy!  

Forget about planning for a year. Let’s redefine a year: A year is no longer 12 months, it is now only 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’s your year. 

Twelve week planning offers three distinct differences from annual planning. The first thing that is different with 12 week planning is that it is more predictable than 12-month planning. The farther you plan into the future, the less predictability you have. 

The second difference with 12 week planning is that it is more focused. Most annual plans have too many objectives, which is one of the primary reasons execution fails. The reason most plans contain so much is because you’re planning for 12 months, laying out all the things you want to achieve over the next 365 days. It’s no wonder you become disillusioned and frustrated. You end up spread too thin and diffused—not a recipe for greatness. 

The third thing that is different with 12 week plans is the structure. In our experience, most plans are written with the unspoken goal of just developing a good plan. Most often these plans are then placed in a nice binder and rarely get implemented. 

Deciding where you are going is the first step to getting there. Effective planning absolutely begins with a well-written, specific, and measurable 12 week goal—a goal that you own, that, if you hit it, creates meaningful benefits for you; a goal that makes a difference. 

The 12 week goal is the bridge between your vision and your 12 week plan. Your 12 week goal should be a realistic stretch for you. If it isn’t realistic, you will become discouraged. If it isn’t a stretch you don’t need the 12 Week Year because your current way of operating will achieve your goal. 

Now it’s time to write your first 12 week plan. The plan is the roadmap needed to reach your 12 week goals. The best plans are focused on one or two things that you want to make progress on in the next 12 weeks. The fewer goals and weekly actions there are, the easier the plan will be to execute. 

To get started, write your first 12 week goal as Goal 1. Write each additional goal separately. You may find that you have just one goal; that’s fine. Next, for each of your goals, define the highest priority daily and weekly actions that you must take to reach that goal. 

Measurement drives the execution process. It is your touchstone with reality. Truly effective measurement combines both lead and lag indicators to provide the comprehensive feedback needed for informed decision making. It is the feedback loop that lets you know if your actions are effective. 

The lag indicators are the end results, and your 12 week goals are the ultimate lag indicators. If you are tracking progress towards your goals, then you are tracking lag indicators. Lead indicators are the things that happen early in the execution process. They are the things that drive the lags. Most people are pretty good at tracking the lag indicators, but the opportunity for growth is usually the greatest with the lead indicators. 

The most effective lead indicator you can have is a measure of your weekly execution. It is critical that you measure execution. We have found that if you execute a minimum of 85 percent of the actions due in your weekly plan each week, you are very likely to hit your goals at the end of the 12 weeks. 

To achieve this level of performance will require that you carve out time for the strategic—those actions that are important, but not necessarily urgent. Strategic activities don’t typically have an immediate payback, yet they create substantial returns in the future. To stay focused on your strengths, you will need to manage your interruptions and keep the low-payoff activities to a minimum. 

Our society views accountability as consequences. Accountability is not consequences; it’s ownership. It is the realization that even though you don’t control the circumstances, you do control how you respond. It is the understanding that the quality of your choices determines the quality of your life. It is the recognition that in any situation you always, always, always have choices. The choices you have in a given situation may not be very attractive, but you still have choices, and that is an important and empowering distinction. 

At the end of every 12 Week Year, there is a 13th week. The 13th week exists as an opportunity for you to review your results from the previous 12 weeks, and to launch you into the next 12 Week Year with fresh goals and a plan to reach them. 

The 12 Week Year is a system that helps you perform better through more effective execution. We hope that you can see how the 12 Week Year is a complete system that has everything you need to dramatically improve your results in just about any area of your life. That is if you engage with it. 

The power of the 12 Week Year is only realized through application. Tens of thousands of our clients have embraced the system, have executed their plans, and achieved amazing results. It is our sincerest hope that you have big expectations for what the 12 Week Year can do for you. 

Interested in reading the whole book? You can purchase here: http://amzn.to/2hpD222

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