Top-Shelf Tip No. 044:

"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."

Stephen Covey

The 12-Week Perspective, Part 1

What if we switched to a different personal calendar? By adopting a 12-week perspective, we might finally abandon the futile, misery-inducing notion of work-life balance. We'll explain more from Brian Moran, author of The 12 Week Year, in today's and tomorrow's issues of Promotional Consultant Today.

In an effort to improve, most companies and individuals will search for new ideas and strategies. They will seek out new marketing techniques, sales ideas, cost-cutting measures and customer service enhancements, hoping that these new approaches will deliver better results.

The No. 1 factor holding individuals and entire companies back from achieving what they are truly capable of is not a lack of knowledge, intellect or information. It's not some new strategy or idea. It's not additional training. It's not a larger network of "connected" people. It's not hard work, natural talent or luck. Of course all these things help—they all play a factor—but they are not the things that make the difference.

You've no doubt heard the saying that knowledge is power. Knowledge is only powerful if you use it, if you act on it. It benefits no one unless the person acquiring the knowledge does something with it. And great ideas are worthless unless they are implemented. The marketplace only rewards those ideas that get implemented. You can be smart, you can have access to lots of information and great ideas, you can be well connected, work hard and have lots of natural talent, but in the end, you have to execute.

Execution is the single greatest market differentiator. Great companies and successful individuals execute better than their competition. Effective execution will set you free. It is the path to accomplish the things you desire.

One of the things that gets in the way of an organization effectively executing and achieving its best is the annual planning process. As strange as this is going to sound, annual goals and plans are often a barrier to high performance. This doesn't mean annual goals and plans don't have a positive impact, they do. There is no question you will do better with annual goals and plans, than without any goals or plans. However, this annual process inherently limits performance.

The trap is referred to as "annualized thinking." At the heart of annualized thinking is an unspoken belief that there is plenty of time in the year to make things happen. We mistakenly believe this and we act accordingly. As a result, we lack a sense of urgency, not realizing that every week is important, every day is important, every moment is important.

Forget about 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 is your year.

This approach narrows your focus to the week and more to the point, the day, which is 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 the critical activities, thinking to yourself that there is plenty of time left in the year. Once 12 weeks becomes your year then each week matters, each day matters, each moment matters.

Read PCT tomorrow for more tips on managing your next 12 weeks.

Source: Brian Moran, president and founder of Strategic Breakthroughs, has amassed more than 30 years of expertise as an executive, coach and consultant, and is a recognized expert and speaker in the field of leadership and execution. Moran realized that most people don't lack ideas but struggle with their effective implementation. His new book, The 12 Week Year, is a powerful guide to creating results through focus, commitment and accountability.


Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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