Achieve Real Results in Less Time

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The Twelve Week Year, by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington, is a fascinating departure from the traditionally accepted “annual plan” in business. The most recent choice for my book club, Rick’s Read to Lead, the book presents an approach for generating results within  a 12 week period, rather than over 12 months.

Though the book is largely focused on business, the authors point to personal vision as an integral element in the process of developing business objectives and plans. Readers are encouraged to consider what they truly want to achieve and are reminded that business is only a part of life. Simply stated, “Your business vision is most powerful when it is created in light of your personal vision” – with which you have a strong emotional connection.

A key point of discussion within our group was the importance of knowing your “why.” Without clarity about why you are pursuing your goals, there’s little motivation to accomplish them. You must know what’s important to you, be able to articulate it, and allow your goals to take shape around your “why.”

The authors have adapted “periodization” – a focused training regimen, first used in sports, which concentrates on one skill at a time – to performance in business. The “12 Week Year” is characterized by the authors as “a structured approach that fundamentally changes the way you think and act.”  They point out that results are a direct by-product of actions, which are manifestations of underlying thinking. When thinking changes, everything shifts.

They argue that it is not lack of knowledge or ideas that limits our achievements but lack of execution. The 12 Week Year approach helps define what is important for you to do today so that your long-term objectives can be attained. Tasks not directly related to driving results are pushed aside for what really matters in the short-term. A 12-week period is more readily focused and structured, and is far more predictable than the next 12 months.

“Strategic Blocks” provide a recommended three hours of uninterrupted time each week when all your effort is directed towards producing breakthrough results. One participant in our group acknowledged that he rarely takes time to strategize about his goals but that a designated time for that purpose would provide him with more discipline in doing so. Another participant suggested scheduling “mini” strategic blocks throughout the week – perhaps three, one-hour sessions – in order to balance daily tasks and breakthrough results.

We also discussed the importance of accountability in achieving our goals. We often do a much better job helping our clients work on and be accountable to their goals than we do our own. An accountability partner or group can help in this quest. As a result of our discussion, we agreed to regularly meet as a group to help hold each other accountable and ensure the success of our plans.

Bottom line – the authors hold our feet to the fire, asking us to be honest with ourselves about what we truly want, to put aside less-than-critical details in exchange for a focus on what really matters, and to not only dream, but execute. As the authors point out, “The greatest predictor of your future are your daily actions.” To drive those daily actions and “achieve a level of performance that is greater than your current performance, you will need a vision of the future that is bigger than the present.”

I recommend this book to anyone looking for clarity in developing and executing their personal or professional objectives. Over more than three decades of working with diverse personalities and businesses I have witnessed the focus, energy and achievements that result when there is a clearly defined “why” at the heart of a business. Part of my mission is to help business owners identify and apply their own personal vision, not only for better business results, but for the fulfillment that comes from making your business an extension of what really matters to you.

Rick Arthur

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Rick Arthur is a CFO whose expertise is built on Financial Intelligence and 35 years in senior financial roles. Coupled with a CEO’s perspective and the experience of building his own $20 million company, he brings a unique depth of insight into business from the top down. Wired to get to know people, Rick works hand-in-hand with business owners of intentional, growth-oriented companies, solidifying relationships as a trusted advisor and confidant to his clients. He leverages his experience to help business owners gain traction and stay laser-focused on the company’s vision, cash flow, and profitability – all while creating big picture solutions for strategic planning, growth and sustainable success.