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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 09, 2013 • Issue 13:12:01

Execute your way to the top

In the opening chapter of The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months, authors Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington make a bold statement about what they offer to readers. "[W]e will show you how to increase your current results by four times or more, in a very short period of time," they wrote. "You will learn exactly what it takes to perform at your best every day. We will unwrap the secrets of top performers in a way that allows you to align your thinking and your actions to produce staggering results."

Both authors have dedicated their careers to helping individuals and organizations improve their performance. They currently provide consulting services through The Execution Company, for which Moran is the founder and Chief Executive Officer, and Lennington the Vice President.

They believe knowledge alone is not power and execution is what makes all the difference. "Our experience has shown that most people have the capacity to double or triple their income just by consistently applying what they already know," they stated, adding that they penned The 12 Week Year to "close the execution gap. It is written in a way that allows you to understand the fundamental concepts of execution and actually apply them right away."

The book is divided into two parts. The first, "Things You Think You Know," is dedicated to helping readers understand the 12 Week Year process; the second, "Putting It All Together," is devoted to providing tools and tips that will help people realize their goals.

Making the case for the 12 Week Year

The authors don't dispute that having annual goals and plans is better than not having them, but they have observed that the annual planning process is inherently limiting, even when goals and action steps are broken down into smaller increments throughout the year. That is because, in the end, those who plan annually evaluate their success annually, as well; unfortunately, along with "annualized" thinking comes the "unspoken belief that there is plenty of time to make things happen," they stated.

The authors have found that the opposite is true when a year consists of only 12 weeks. And their 12 Week Year is "an execution system that helps you operate at your best each day by creating clarity and focus on what matters most and a sense of urgency to do it now." They also offered six reasons why switching from a 12-month to a 12-week year mindset will ultimately create execution magic:

  • It reduces uncertainty and defines actions.
  • It sparks a vital sense of urgency.
  • It gets you focused on the most important things.
  • It makes keeping commitments easier, which leads to consistent results.
  • It makes you proactive instead of reactive.
  • It makes your life more meaningful.

Putting it into action

It is worth noting that the portion of the book dedicated to execution is about twice as long as the section explaining the author's observations and rationale. They have identified eight elements as fundamental to high performance in all endeavors. Three are called "principles" and include accountability, commitment and greatness in the moment. Five are dubbed "disciplines." These comprise vision, planning, process control, measurement and time use.

The authors define each element, explain its role in the system, provide instructions on what actions each element requires and offer tips and pitfalls to avoid. In the book's final chapter Moran and Lennington emphasize that the power of the 12 Week Year is realized only through application; they encourage readers to connect with their community at www.12weekyear.com, as well as via Facebook and LinkedIn. end of article

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months By Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2013 ISBN: 978-1-118-50923-4

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