In our world of constant interruption and distraction combined with the weight of always having way too much to get done, the work that matters most (the work that creates the most value in your business and your life) can get lost in the whirlwind of what is most urgent right now.
How can you make sure that your most valuable work gets prioritized and, most importantly, gets done? Most of us can't do it without discipline and planning.
“Planning is a process of choosing among those many options. If we do not choose to plan, then we choose to have others plan for us.” Richard I. Winwood
I'm excited to share with you a 12-Week Planning Tool that can help you clarify and define those critical, actionable steps you must take to advance your most important work.
If you would like the Microsoft Word version so you can edit, just shoot me a note on the “Contact” page of our website and I'd be happy to give you the file.
Why 12 Weeks?
I'm a huge fan of the big picture and annual planning. After all, you do have to craft your north star. But to turn your ideas into actions and execute effectively, you've got to break your big audacious goals down into manageable and actionable chunks. The 12-week view is just the right amount of time to allow flexibility and foster a proper sense of urgency.
(Side note: for a great take on why 12-week planning is so effective, I highly recommend Brian Moran's “The 12 Week Year”. This approach to planning has transformed the way I work.)
Key Components of the 12-Week Planning Tool
Set Your Objectives: Prioritize no more than three to five high-value objectives. These are the three to five most important goals that will have the biggest impact on your work or life. Less is more, so if you can prioritize three objectives, all the better. 12 weeks seems like so much time to get copious amounts of work done, but it never is!
When you set your objectives, make sure they are specific, quantifiable, and timebound. For example, “Sell 5,000 X-Stands within the coworking segment by July 1, 2017.”
Define Criteria for Success: This section is crucial because it forces you to think through what factors are critical to successfully executing your objective. What has to occur to achieve this objective? What challenges might you have to overcome? What support will you need? Defining your success criteria will ensure you identify the key steps required to achieve your goal.
KPI/Lead Measures: This is one of the most valuable elements of 12-week planning. Identify what the Key Performance Indicators are or the lead measures that you will be tracking each week to make sure you reach your goal.
What do we mean by lead measures? Lead measures are different from lag measures. Lead measures are the daily/weekly actions that ultimately drive the lag measures. For example, “5,000 X-Stands” is a lag measure. A lead measure might be “contact 10 coworking location founders each week”. Lead measures are the actions we can take that will drive the ultimate (lag) goal.
Discipline in identifying and tracking lead measures has been a game changer. Ultimately, you don't control lag measures like sales dollars, but you do control the actions you take to drive sales dollars, such as “run one facebook ad each week” or “attend one networking event weekly and follow up on five connections made”.
For an excellent article on lead vs lag measures, click HERE.
The real value is the process! I've found that just the process of identifying the most important objectives you want to achieve, determining success criteria and choosing how you will measure your success weekly is incredibly valuable.
We hope you will too! Please be sure to reach out with questions and share any best practices you've found that help you focus and do more of the work that truly moves you!
PS: I've you've found this post helpful, we would be so grateful if you would share it with friends and colleagues!