How to get more done in 12 weeks than in a whole year

14 May 2018

Leadership

Have you ever felt that you and your team could achieve more, be more productive and efficient at work, but every time you started, you get caught up in the detail and lose that laser-sharp focus? Even from a personal perspective, you want to explore a new health-kick, but life just keeps getting in the way? Well this blog for you...

The 12-week principle  

The principle of the 12-week year, by Moran and Lennington is simple: “get more done in 12 weeks than others do in a whole year.” By treating every week as if it is a month, the plan encourages you to focus on your vision, gain clarity on your goals, define your daily activities, track your progress and celebrate your success, faster and more effectively.

What does this mean for the workplace? Commonly, organisations today work in the context of annual plans and goals, up until March 2017, we were no different. Annualised way of working came with natural pitfalls, including silo thinking, reduced productivity and lower colleague motivation.

By adopting the 12-week year plan, we have shortened and energised our execution cycle down from one year to twelve weeks. There just isn′t enough time to get complacent, and urgency increases and intensifies. This creates focus and clarity on what matters most and sense of high commitment across everyone in our team to achieve.

Our approach at SD Worx to the 12-week year plan has 5 simple rules:

  • Have a compelling vision of what you want to achieve in 12 weeks 
  • Plan what daily strategies and actions we can work on as individuals and as a team to achieve that future 
  • Every day counts! Be committed to take action 
  • Track weekly progress to keep yourself (and team) on track, support and course correct as needed 
  • Celebrate success 

Three Key Learns

1. Make goal setting personal 

Since adopting the 12-week plan into our workplace, the clarity gained around goal setting has never been so strong. By asking individuals to create the vision of what they want to achieve in just 12-weeks, both on a work and a personal level, has boosted motivation, creativity and inspired colleagues to aim high. It is the basic shift in viewpoint that really matters.

Each vison and goal are positively challenged: is it the right vision? Is it achievable? Though it’s important not to assume it’s easy, and making what seems like the impossible to achieve, possible is absolutely encouraged.

2. Track and measure progress

We set up a 12-week support community and tracker to support each other. We have built a platform enabling every member of our team to track progress, share personal achievements, let us know how they are feeling (an effective engagement pulse check), ask for team support and recognise others who helped them, aligning with our company INSPIRE values.

The measureable outputs from our plan is shared weekly and enables our colleagues to see the benefit their actions are bringing. Information shared has proven invaluable to the management team, helping to quickly identify where additional support, coaching and further collaboration is needed.

3. Celebrate success

The purpose of our 12-week plan has always been to unite our colleagues, create clarity on what matters most to all of us, break down barriers and enable us to work together with greater pace - getting more of the important stuff done quickly.

The plan has encouraged more fun and creativity into work, empowering everyone to make a difference. Celebrating success is also essential to motivating and keeping energy high during the 12-week year plan. The good news is, you and your team will not be short in opportunities to recognise individuals for their efforts!

At the end of a 12-week cycle and before start of the next, consider providing each colleague with their own personalised 12-week year achievement report; giving a complete view of their personal goals, activities, engagement and recognition.

Our achievements

  • Colleagues’ engagement score is proudly 92% overall  
  • Over 270 peer-to-peer recognition and 42 colleague of the month nominations recorded
  • Some colleagues have been motivated to set out the vision to double their targets and have achieved far more than their annual target
  • 20% of total product and development team time, spent on product innovation in a single cycle

My personal tips

The idea isn't to divide the year into quarters, but to think of each 12-weeks as a standalone year, a period long enough to make significant progress, yet short enough to remain focused. Having a precise vision and a commitment to adopting new way of working is the only way to make this concept work.

A compelling vision creates a clear picture of the future. You, as the organisation, must have clear outcome goals in order for the individuals to believe in the concept and to want to do their part. The 12-week plan success increased when the goals were personal to the individual. When there is a personal goal, there is an increased level of focus, productivity and enthusiasm that accompanies the efforts made to achieve it.

By concentrating on the bigger things you want to achieve in the next 12 weeks, you can effectively plan out your day and lose distractions. Weekly tracking of progress is proved highly effective, as quickly you can identify where you got steered off track and plan more effectively your next week. In the end, more of the important stuff gets done and the impact on results is profound. Expediting your journey to success.

In the end, you have greater control over your actions than you do your results. Your results are created by your actions.
- Moran and Lennington,12 Week Year

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