7 min read ⌚
More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 months
Want to hear a strange thing?
There’s absolutely no reason why you should adhere to an annual plan!
All of these things are merely social conventions.
Brian Moran and Michael Lennington propose a new one: “The 12 Week Year.”
Who Should Read “The 12 Week Year”? And Why?
If you have the talent but lack the commitment, then “The 12 Week Year” will help you discipline yourself in a way which should maximize your potential.
Consequently, it should prove a great book for anyone who feels capable of doing more work in less time – but can’t find a way to.
Business leaders should profit from the advice in this book as well.
About Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
Brian P. Moran is a recognized expert in the fields of leadership and plan execution and has over three decades expertise as a CEO, entrepreneur, corporate executive, consultant and life coach.
He has held important roles in companies such as PepsiCo, UPS, and Northern Automotive and has consulted many successful corporations, such as Coldwell Banker, Tiffany & Co, Medtronic, Mass Mutual, and New York Life.
Michael Lennington is a consultant, coach, and leadership trainer, as well as Vice President of the Execution Company.
He has a BS from Michigan State University and an MBA from the Ross School Business at the said university.
The two authors have written few books together, all related to productivity and the 12 Week Year concept.
“The 12 Week Year PDF Summary”
Here’s an interesting comparative statistic:
Two in three Americans are either overweight or obese, even though there are almost 50,000 diet books available, and the diet and fitness industry weighs about $60 billion dollars a year!
The reason for the discrepancy is quite simple:
Knowledge is not power if not acted upon.
In other words, it makes no difference that so many people know what to eat and how much to exercise – when so few of them actually do something about it.
The gist of the problem?
According to Moran and Lennington – the fact that most of us think annually, setting ourselves New Year’s resolutions not for the next few weeks, but for the next 52 weeks!
Nobody can plan that far ahead.
In other words, annualized thinking is a trap:
We mistakenly believe that there is a lot of time left in the year, and we act accordingly. We lack a sense of urgency, not realizing that every week is important, every day is important, every moment is important. Ultimately, effective execution happens daily and weekly!
Athletes have known this for quite some time, which is why they have embraced techniques such as periodization and chunking-up to help themselves reach their final goals.
There’s no point in thinking about winning the NBA championship the third game of the season!
Well, unsurprisingly, the same works in the business world as well!
It starts with a timeless vision which should inspire action, which in turn brings the progress and the results.
However, to make the connection between the vision and the results, you need to reframe your dream into something more achievable and more specific.
After all, “a vision without a plan is a pipe dream.”
Change this step by step:
Start by listing what you want to be in ten years’ time and, then what you should achieve during the next three years of your life so that you are sure that, by the end of the 1,000 or so days, you have been working tirelessly toward your goal.
Only then it will be time to break that strategy further into a set of 12-week plans.
How to create your first?
Well, start by breaking down your ultimate ten-year goal into a three-month one!
Want to earn a million dollars by the end of the decade?
Then you’ll need to earn $100,000 dollars during the next year, or a third of that in the following three months.
Sounds much more realistic now, doesn’t it?
Next, think about what you should do to achieve this broken-down goal during the next 12 weeks of your life?
In our case, it basically means to give an answer to the question: what actions you should do to earn about $30,000 in 12 weeks?
Surely, cold-calling ten prospects per week, building a stronger business network, and creating a sales tracker are good ways to do this.
Even more – they are tenable and, even if not perfect, they will help you get the wheels rolling.
And that’s the whole point of knowledge!
After all, never forget what George Patton once said:
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
However, having a good plan is pointless if you don’t execute it properly.
And in order to do so on a more consistent basis, you must set up some controls that will keep you on track when you’ll inevitably lose your focus.
A weekly accountability meeting is a good way to do that!
Discussing your progress with one or two committed individuals will basically force you to focus on your project even when you don’t want to.
That’s why all great athletes have professional trainers: someone has to nudge you in the right direction when you’re not feeling like it and you want to find an excuse not to do it.
Speaking of which –
It’s also a good idea to find a way to measure your progress.
Because numbers don’t lie and they won’t let you hide behind futile explanations.
In other words, if the numbers say you’re going in the wrong direction, you have one of two choices:
Quit or double the effort.
And this is one of those cases when it is good to not have an alternative.
Key Lessons from “The 12 Week Year”
1. It’s Not About Knowing – It’s About Doing
2. Stay Focused by Breaking Down Goals and Plans into Shorter Timeframes
3. The 4 Keys to Successful Commitment
It’s Not About Knowing – It’s About Doing
Knowledge is power, right?
Power is actually the thing you gain when you act upon your knowledge!
We all know that we need to exercise to stay healthy.
Guess who are the ones who are actually in good physical shape?
Stay Focused by Breaking Down Goals and Plans into Shorter Timeframes
The main problem you are facing in terms of not achieving your goals is the annualized thinking.
A year is just too long for an annual plan to work at all.
In other words, when you have 360 days ahead of you, it costs you nothing to lose a week or so procrastinating.
When all you have is 12 weeks, a week is just too much!
So, do that: break down your ten-year goal into a more specific three-year objective. And split that up even further into a set of manageable 12-week chunks!
Now, you can commit and focus to a plan which is neither short-sighted nor leaves you too much room for excuses and apologies.
The 4 Keys to Successful Commitment
Successful commitment begins with strong desire.
Without it, you will give up the minute the going gets tough.
Only if you truly want to achieve something, you’ll be able to put your plan into practice.
Once you have an intense desire to accomplish something,” write Moran and Lennington, “you then need to identify the core actions that will produce the result you’re after.
This is the step that ultimately makes the difference. Most people choose to be spectators in spite of their strong desire.
Be a participant.
However, count the costs beforehand.
Because, whether it is time, money, or – above all – comfort, you’ll definitely need to sacrifice something to achieve your goal.
Do that consciously, because, otherwise, when you face them, you may hesitate and back down.
Which brings us to the fourth key: act on commitments, not feelings.
Because it’s inevitable that sometimes you just won’t feel like doing anything.
But do you think that Michael Phelps chooses when to train and when not to?
Learning to do the things you need to do, regardless of how you feel, is a core discipline for success.
Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.
“The 12 Week Year Quotes”
Our Critical Review
Other than the insistence on applicability, we don’t really have the feeling that “The 12 Week Year” will add something to what you already know about planning – especially if you’re reading us regularly.
But, in that case, it’s much better that you buy “The 12 Week Year Field Guide”” which purports to be a “full-color, hands-on template for implementing advice” from this book.
We haven’t cast a look at that one yet – but we certainly intend to.
Learn more and more, in the speed that the world demands.