Shorter-term planning and execution will yield greater success.

Great companies and successful individuals execute better than their competition. As strange as this might sound, annual goals are often a barrier to high performance. This doesn’t mean annual plans don’t have a positive impact. They do. However, this annual process inherently limits performance.

The trap is “annualized thinking,” an unspoken belief that there is plenty of time in the year to make things happen. In January, December looks a long way off. We lack a sense of urgency, not realizing that every week, every day and every moment
is important.

A year is no longer 12 months; it is now 12 weeks. Now you have a new end-game date to assess your success (or lack thereof). It narrows your focus to the week and more to the point, the day, where execution occurs. When you set your goals in the context of a 12-week year, you no longer have the luxury of putting off critical activities.

The result is profound. Most people who use this method experience about a 30% improvement in the first 12 weeks. Here are three steps to help you achieve more in the next 12 weeks than most will in 12 months.

Focus on what you want to make happen over the next 12 weeks, an outcome such as income, sales production or dollars saved, which should represent significant progress toward your longer-term vision. Limit your goals to a maximum of three, and make certain each is specific and measurable.

A 12-week plan embraces the notion of being great at a few things versus mediocre at many. For each goal, you will need to identify tactics, the daily and weekly actions that drive the accomplishment of the goal. If the goal is the “where,” then the tactics are the “how.” Less is more. Focus on the critical few, the four or five actions to take daily and weekly to accomplish your goal.

Simply having a plan is helpful but not enough. The key is execution. 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 identify the tactics that are due. The plan is not a glorified to-do list; rather, it reflects the critical strategic activity that needs to take place this week in order to achieve your 12-week goals.

Score your week — At the end of each week score your execution. In the end you have greater control over your actions than you do your outcomes. You 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 willing to meet for 15 to 20 minutes each week to report how you’re doing. Encourage and challenge each other.

That’s it: Three simple steps. Plan your week, score your week, meet with a group of peers. Do them, and you will improve.

Brian Moran, president and founder of Strategic Breakthroughs, has more than 30 years of expertise as an executive, coach and consultant.


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