Vision isn’t fluffy – The 12 Week Year

If you are like me, reading management books is more than tedious. Unless, the almost invincible 6ft 4 Jack Reacher, with a certain set of skills, is taking down a bad guy, I’m not interested.

I have discovered that you can listen to books/podcasts in the car and this makes it a lot easier.  My most recent find is the 12 Week Year, which I think takes a really good approach to planning and achieving both business and personal objectives. It is full of great ideas, but here are some of the tips I have taken from it.

‘Vision isn’t fluffy’- If you don’t like the word vision, call it something else.  Goal, objective, but whatever you call it, think about what you want it to be.  Visualise it and quantify it.  Once you have it in mind, you can start planning how to get it.

A simple business one could be ‘I want to increase my turnover by 160K in the next year’.  A personal one could be ‘I want to lose 2 stone in 6 months.

Once you have your vision, break it down into 12 a week cycle.  So, I now want my turnover to increase by 40k in the next 12 weeks.

Shortening the time makes the vision more tangible and increases your focus.

There are 3 elements to achieving your 12-week year.

  1. Plan your week – actions to be taken
  2. Measure your actions achieved
  3. Have a weekly accountability meeting to review your hit rate on your actions.

The best nugget is, we control our actions but not necessarily the outcome.  However, if we maintain perseverance on increasing our hit rate on our actions then the outcome will look after itself.

  1. At the start of each week, make a plan. To achieve my sales target in 12 weeks I decide I need to make 10 cold calls a week, ask for 5 referrals from existing clients, and meet 5 existing clients to talk about new products.

I block out time in my diary to take these actions during the week, allowing for client visits, and cold calls.  I  also allow time for my normal day to day activities, management meetings etc.

A default diary with time blocks is a good way to do this. I use google calendar, but any diary, book or digital  is good.

  1. At the end of the week measure your actions. Did I make the 10 cold calls? Did I ask for the 5 referrals?   You are aiming for a hit rate of 85%.  If over the first couple of weeks your’ hit rate is improving, then you are on the right track. If not, you need to evaluate why and change, but do not give up.  Beware the valley of despair!
  2. Weekly accountability meetings are about using your team and peer pressure to take ownership of your vision, weekly plan and hit rate. It’s not about beating you, your team or your colleges with a stick; rather about improvement towards getting a better hit rate.  These meetings should be 15 to 20 mins depending on the size of your team.

To start the process, you should do a 4-week plan with objectives and actions to take.

The book is an excellent read (listen), costs €14.95 on download.  I’m starting to use the principles in my own business and with my clients.  On Google play you don’t have to buy an audio version, but I have noticed that some other management books don’t have a read aloud function.

Another management book I listened to recently was Extreme Ownership.  Ex Seals bring their preparation, understanding and ownership into business.  Its’ a good listen especially if you like war stories but start with the 12 week year.

Ref: Brian P. Moran (12 week year)

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