For most of my working life, I have set one-year goals for myself. These include business goals, development goals, and personal goals. Overall, this annual goal-setting has served me well for almost 40 years.
I have also helped hundreds of companies establish one-year business plans and those twelve-month plans then act as a road map for those companies as they carefully navigate the rest of the year. I remain today a strong advocate for such plans.
There is, however, one major challenge with annualized planning. A year can be a long time and it's easy to lose sight of those annualized goals. That's the basis of the New York Times bestseller
The 12 Week Year written by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington.
In this book, the authors suggest we redefine a year as 12 weeks.
"The 12 Week Year creates a new endgame date for you to assess your success. The great thing about having a 12 Week Year is that the deadline is always near enough that you never lose sight of it."
The book provides the reader with three reasons why a 12-week plan works better than a traditional 12-month plan:
- First, it's easier to predict 12 weeks rather than 12 months.
- Second, a 12-week plan is more focused than a 12-month plan. Fewer objectives mean less to plan for.
- Third, the structure of a 12-week plan delivers better results than a one year plan.
In addition to the 12-week plan, the book also suggests that we develop a weekly plan that reflects the critical strategic activity from your 12-week plan that needs to take place this week in order for you to achieve your goals.
I have used a weekly plan for the past 20 years and have found it to be most helpful in prioritizing my goals and activities each week.
I found this book helpful in providing a different perspective on strategic planning. The 12 Week Year may not be for everyone but it could be just the answer for you.