Power � Just Execute Already!
knowledge is power, but it absolutely isn�t,� says Moran, coauthor
along with Michael Lennington of the New York Times best seller
The 12 Week Year: Get More Done In 12 Weeks Than Others Do In 12
Months available nationwide at booksellers and at
Your failure to meet your goals has nothing to do with what you
don�t know � and everything to do with how well you execute.
There�s a long
list of things you know would improve your career, business, health,
or whatever. Whether you actually do them is the difference between
a life of greatness and one of mediocrity. Brian Moran explains how
changing the way you think about time can help you close the
knowing-doing gap to finally start meeting your potential.
�You can be
smart and have access to lots of information and great ideas; you
can be well connected, work hard, and have lots of natural talent,
but in the end, you have to execute,� Moran confirms. �Execution is
the single greatest differentiator between great lives and mediocre
most people have the capacity to double or triple their income just
by consistently applying what they already know. Despite this, we
continue to chase new ideas thinking the next one is the one that
will magically make it all come together � when what we really need
to do is apply the Nike slogan to our lives. So why don�t we just do
it? Moran suggests you�re dropping the �execution ball� for the same
reason companies can�t meet their goals: You�re thinking about time
in the wrong way.
�We tend to
think we have all the time in the world,� remarks Moran. �Let�s say
you have a baby and you have all these vague notions about saving
for college. Well, before you know it, he�s 12 years old and you
don�t have a penny saved. Quite simply, we don�t do what doesn�t
Lennington�s book offers a new way to think about time and how you
use it. In a nutshell, plan your goals in 12-week increments rather
than 365-day years. When you do so, you�re far more likely to feel a
healthy sense of urgency that gets you focused. And whether your
goal is of the business or personal variety, you�ll get far more
done in far less time � and you�ll feel a lot less stressed and much
more in control.
Read on for a
few tips on how you can better tackle life�s pitfalls...
Envision a future that�s worth the pain of change.
thing that you will have to sacrifice to be great, to achieve what
you are capable of, and to execute your plans, is your comfort.
Therefore, the critical first step to executing well is creating and
maintaining a compelling vision of the future that you want even
more than you desire your own short-term comfort. Then and only then
can you align your shorter-term goals and plans with that long-term
�If you are
going to perform at a high level, take new ground and be great, then
you better have a vision that is compelling,� advises Moran. �One
way to get there is by asking, �What if?� Doing so allows you to
entertain new possibilities and begin to connect with the benefits.
If you�re going to create a breakthrough � to reach the next level �
you will need to move through fear, uncertainty and discomfort. It
is your personal vision that keeps you in the game when things
�Once you have
your vision, stay in touch with it,� he contends. �Print it out and
keep it with you. Review it each morning, updating it every time you
discover ways to make it more vivid and meaningful to you. And share
it with others. Doing so will increase your commitment to it."
Live with intentional imbalance.
articles, books, and blog posts have you read emphasizing the
importance of establishing work/life balance? A lot, right? But
where much of the advice on creating work/life balance goes wrong is
around the idea of equality. Often we�re told what we need to do, in
order to spend equal time in each area of our lives. The result is
often unproductive and frustrating. Life balance is not about equal
time in each area; life balance is more about intentional imbalance.
is achieved when you are purposeful about how and where you spend
your time, energy and effort,� explains Moran. �At different times
in your life, you will choose to focus on one area over another, and
that�s perfectly fine, provided it�s intentional. Life has different
seasons, each with its own set of challenges and blessings. The
12-week plan is a terrific process to help you live a life of
intentional imbalance. Think about what could be different for you
if every 12 weeks you focused on a few key areas in your life and
made significant improvement.�
Make sure you�re committed, not merely interested.
There is a
humorous anecdote about commitments involving a chicken and a pig at
breakfast time. The chicken has contributed the egg and is therefore
merely interested in the breakfast; the pig, however, contributes
the bacon, and is thus completely committed. Kept commitments
benefit both parties involved by improving relationships,
strengthening integrity, and building self-confidence. Commitments
are powerful and, oftentimes, life changing.
merely interested in doing something, you do it only when
circumstances permit, but when you�re committed to something, you
accept no excuses, only results,� notes Moran. �There�s no denying
that at that breakfast the pig is all in. And that�s how you must
approach the commitments you take on as part of your 12-week plans.�
Put hard (and short) deadlines on what you need to
execution cycle many organizations embrace lulls people into
believing that they can put off critical activity, yet still
accomplish what they desire and achieve their goals. It sets one
deadline, year-end, which in January � heck, even by July � still
feels too far away to spur you into action. But consider the rush of
productivity that occurs when a deadline you have to meet draws
companies during the final five or six weeks of the year, there is a
frantic push to end strong and then kick off the new year with
gusto,� points out Moran. �It�s an exciting and productive time. The
problem is this urgency exists for just a handful of weeks in a
365-day year � but it doesn�t have to. When a company sets deadlines
for every 12 weeks rather than every 12 months, that excitement,
energy and focus, happen all year long. And this strategy works with
all goals, not just business goals.
thing about having a 12-week plan is that the deadline is always
near enough that you never lose sight of it,� he adds. �It provides
a time horizon that is long enough to get things done, yet short
enough to create a sense of urgency and motivation for action.�
Write down your plan.
A plan in your
head isn�t really a plan � it�s wishful thinking; that�s because
life gets in the way. If you don�t have a written plan, you will
almost certainly drop the ball in the first few days. The world is
noisy, the unexpected happens, distractions arise, your innate
desire for comfort tugs at you, and you lose focus on the things you
know you should do. But if you sit down at the start of your 12
weeks and write out your strategy, it forces you to think through
potential pitfalls up front.
�With a written
plan, you make your mistakes on paper, which reduces miscues during
implementation,� declares Moran. �You no longer waste time on
unimportant activities because your plan triggers your actions. Your
action choices are made proactively at the beginning of the 12 weeks
when you create your plan. In short, a 12-week plan helps you get
more of the right things done each day, and ultimately helps you
reach your goals faster and with greater impact.�
Give each goal its own set of tactics.
The way your
plan is structured and written impacts your ability to effectively
execute. Effective planning strikes a working balance between too
much complexity and too little detail. Your plan should start by
identifying your overall goals for the 12 weeks. (Yes, you may have
more than one goal during that time frame.) Then, you�ll need to
determine the tactics needed to meet each goal.
goal down to its individual parts,� suggests Moran. �For example, if
your goal is to earn $10,000 and lose 10 pounds, you should write
tactics for your income goal and your weight loss goal separately.
Tactics are the daily to-do�s that drive the attainment of your
goals. Tactics must be specific, actionable, and include due dates
and assigned responsibilities. The 12-week plan is structured so
that if the tactics are completed on a timely basis the goals are
Take it one week at a time.
To guide you on
your journey to completing your tactics and meeting your goals,
you�ll need weekly plans. Your weekly plan encompasses your
strategies and priorities, your long-term and short-term tasks, and
your commitments in the context of time. It helps you focus on the
elements of your plan that must happen each week to keep you on
track with your goals. Your goals in turn keep you on track with
your vision. Everything is powerfully aligned.
�Start each day
with your weekly plan,� advises Moran. �Check-in with it several
times throughout the day. If you�ve scheduled a tactic to be
completed that day, don�t go home until it is done. This ensures
that the critically important tasks, your plan tactics, are
completed each week.�
Keep track of your efforts, not your results.
heard or read the mantra �What gets measured gets done.� It�s true:
Measurement drives the execution process. After all, can you imagine
the CEO of a large corporation not knowing the numbers? As the CEO
of your own life and business, you need to know your numbers. But
don�t measure your results (how many pounds you lost or how much
commission you earned) � instead, measure your level of execution
(the extent to which you stuck to your diet/exercise plan and the
number of sales calls you made).
greater control over your actions than your results, and your
results are created by your actions,� states Moran. �To measure your
execution, you need to know to what degree you followed through on
each week�s tactics. This allows you to pinpoint breakdowns and
respond quickly. Unlike results, which can lag weeks, months, and in
some cases years behind your actions, an execution measure provides
more immediate feedback, which allows you to make game-time
adjustments much faster.�
Block your time.
plan is designed to help you spend your time with more intention.
That said, many of us engage each day on its own terms. In other
words, we satisfy the various demands of the day as they are
presented, spending whatever time is needed to respond, without
giving much thought as to the relative value of the activity.
According to Moran, you can regain control of your day through time
divide your days into three kinds of blocks � strategic blocks,
buffer blocks, and breakout blocks,� he explains. �A strategic block
is uninterrupted time that is scheduled into each week. During this
block you accept no phone calls, no faxes, no emails, no visitors,
no anything: You do only the activities on your plan. Buffer blocks
are designed to deal with all of the unplanned and low-value
activities � like most email and voicemail � that arise throughout a
typical day. Breakout blocks provide free time for your rest and
12-week plan will help you rethink your multitasking ways. If you�re
accustomed to sending emails during meetings, juggling texting
conversations, and rushing from one place to the next, you�ll be
shocked by how focusing on what matters most will change your life.
�Most people look back and realize that with all their efforts to
not miss anything, they were missing everything,� says Moran. �They
see that nothing was getting their full attention, not the important
projects, not the important conversations, and not the important
�We must all
remember that the current moment � the eternal right now � is all we
have,� he continues. �The future is created now; our dreams are
achieved in the moment. Consider Olympic great Michael Phelps: He
didn�t achieve greatness when he won the 18th gold medal or when he
won his first. He achieved greatness the moment he chose to put the
effort into his training. Results are not the attainment of
greatness, but simply confirmation of it. That�s why the 12-week
plan is so pivotal. It provides a structure that helps you do the
things you need to do to be great.�
Moran is founder and CEO of The Execution Company, an organization
committed to improving the performance and enhancing the quality of
life for leaders and entrepreneurs. He has served in management and
executive positions with UPS, PepsiCo and Northern Automotive, and
consults with dozens of world-class companies each year. As an
entrepreneur, he has led successful businesses and been instrumental
in the growth and success of many others. In addition to his books,
he has been published in leading business journals and magazines. He
is a sought-after speaker.
Lennington is vice president of The Execution Company. He is a
consultant, coach, leadership trainer, and an expert in implementing
lasting change in organizations. He works with clients in the U.S.,
Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to help them implement corporate
initiatives that drive sales, service, and profitability. He holds a
B.S. from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University