Accomplishing more goals in less time sounds great right? We'd all like to achieve that. A book recommendation promised our CEO Millie a better way to achieve more in less time and after a Showcase Workshop team book club, we decided to test run "The 12 Week Year" by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington.
The general structure and theme for the 12 Week Year is applied to both personal and business goals and visions, but we'll be reviewing how we've implemented it into our daily life of building, running, selling, and promoting Showcase.
After an initial Quarter 1 trial, our foray into working with the 12 week year strategy was so successful that we actually implemented it permanently!
What is the 12 week year about?
It's split into a few key points:
- Select a vision/goal.
- Plan your strategies and actions.
- Create habits in order to execute your goal.
- Measure your execution to stay on track.
The 12 week year doesn't mean that you cram all of your goals and work into 3 months and then take a nice long hibernation for the other 9 months, like I originally assumed. Put simply, it's a framework for setting better goals and creating measurable actions for executing those goals in a timely manner.
Goals and planning.
Each year is split into 4 quarters, and in the beginning of each quarter you take the time to plan out everything you want to achieve in this time. Once you've selected your goals, you then work through a detailed planning process for each one - breaking down all the actionable tasks that will get you to completion.
A great example set of goals could be:
- Gain 12 new clients.
- Write 12 blog posts.
- Write and promote one new eBook.
This type of goal setting is wonderful because each goal has a measurable factor. You know you want to gain 12 clients, so each week you can easily track how you're progressing with # out of 12.
The way you plan out your weekly structure is really up to you. The way we do it at Showcase is that every team member sets their own strategic goals, and is responsible for planning out their time over the quarter and ensuring they complete the goals.
Every Monday the Showcase team sits down to discuss our plans for the week, and every Friday we sit down and relay what we actually achieved. Each week, we rank our progress through our tasks in a percentage.
For example, if I had 7 items to complete in a week to ensure I'm on track for my quarter, and I achieved only 4 of those goals - my weekly percentage would be 57.6%.
Actions and Measurement.
Dividing the year into quarters allows us to really focus on achieving results, and having structures and regular points of achievement. We don't try to do everything or even half of everything. The purpose of the 12 week year is to narrow your focus for the 12 weeks down to the 1-3 goals that matter so you can make consistent progress on those things.
12-week goals aren't based on assumptions or dependent on predicting an unpredictable future. They’re not based in visions that can easily change, like 5 year plans. 12-week plans give you a better picture of what you should do on a day-to-day basis and to achieve them in the allotted timeframe, you need to stay on top of what you're getting done.
It allows us each to plan our time out differently, with some preferring to create a breakdown of total hours allotted for this set of goals and then fitting them into their weekly planning. It works for us because whatever style of planner you are, the end goal is the same!
Measuring how we are progressing each week through percentages is a great way to look over your workflow and assess why you've achieved what you have.
If your percentage was low this week, why was that? Did non goal related work take over more of your time than expected? Were you just not motivated to do it? Or were there dependancies that you hadn't accounted for?
Over our time working with the 12 week year process, it's helped us focus more tightly on daily and weekly tasks, and forced us to evaluate our progress toward goals more often. Being able to measure your progress on multiple scales is a great way to keep your progress up - you can look at your daily goals to see how you're tracking for your overall weekly goal, which in turn is being tracked in your 12 week goal.
Looking objectively at our work output in percentages allows us to pinpoint areas where we fall down and what we can do to improve them - continuous improvement is a big factor in how we succeed and continue to grow with the Showcase platform.
We'd highly recommend giving the 12 Week Year book a read and seeing if you can apply any of the guidelines to either your business or personal life! Maybe it's time to plan out that half marathon you've been talking about...