Most of us are used to annual planning over 12-month cycles. The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington explains why you should compress your planning and execution into 12-week cycles, and how you can implement this system to improve your results by at least 4x. In this book summary, we’ll outline the 12 Week Year in 2 parts: (i) the foundational principles and disciplines, and (ii) how to implement the 12 Week Year.
Your thinking drives your actions which determine your outcomes. The 12 Week Year combines various proven techniques and approaches into a holistic system that fundamentally changes how you think and act, so you can improve your existing results by at least 4x. The most fundamental mindset shift is to redefine your year from “1 Year = 12 Months” to “1 Year = 12 Weeks”.
In sports, athletes often train intensively on a specific skill for 4-6 weeks before moving on to the next skill. In most industries, results spike in the last quarter because people go for a 60-day or 100-day push to hit their targets. Why do this only at the end of the year if you could create the same focus, urgency and energy throughout the year? When you think in 12-week cycles, you’ll use every day and hour more deliberately to at least quadruple your outcomes. A 12- week window is also more effective because (i) it’s much more predictable than 12 months, and (ii) it’s short enough to drive focused action yet long enough to get meaningful results. You can also apply this program individually or as a team.
The 12 Week Year: Building the Right Foundations
The 12 Week Year concept/system is build on 8 success ingredients—3 principles and 5 disciplines—that are crucial for success in any area. We’ll briefly outside all 8 ingredients here. Do get more details from our full 14-page summary.
The 3 Core Principles
The 3 principles are (i) accountability (the willingness to take full ownership for your actions and results regardless of your circumstances), (ii) commitment (doing whatever it takes to keep the promises you’ve made to yourself and to others) and (iii) greatness in the moment (making the countless decisions to do what’s needed even if you don’t feel like it, and immersing yourself fully in the present).
The 5 Key Disciplines
These 5 interrelated disciplines shape your thinking, actions and results: (i) having a clear, inspiring life vision, (ii) breaking your broad vision into a concrete plan (with priorities, goals and action steps), (iii) using process controls (tools and systems) to stay on-track, (iv) using measurements to get vital feedback and make informed decisions and (iv) having effective time-use.
Implementing the 12 Week Year
In our complete 14-page summary, we explain in detail how the 8 elements above can be combined into an operating system for implementing the 12 Week Year. Here’s a quick overview of the key steps and components:
Crystallize a Compelling Vision
Your actions will never exceed the size of your personal vision. In our full summary, we elaborate on (i) the emotional cycle that everyone goes though and (ii) how to build belief in your vision and (iii) how to craft a compelling, inspiring vision motivates you to push beyond your comfort zone and keep going in face of challenges.
Develop your 12 Week Plan
Planning (defining what to do and how to do it) allows you to take proactive action rather than react to circumstances. In complete summary, you can get tips and details on (i) why planning is essential, (ii) how to define your 12 Week Goals, and (iii) how to develop your 12 Week Plan and tactics.
Set up Processes and Controls
To take the right actions daily, you must install structures and processes; it’s not enough to rely on willpower alone to get things done. The book elaborates on (i) how to break down your 12 Week Plan into a weekly plan, (ii) establish a weekly routine with 3 key components and (iii) drive effective action. You can get a detailed overview in our full summary bundle.
Keep Score and Continuously Improve
Use measurements to get feedback on how well/badly you’re doing and identify what you should do. You can learn more about (i) lead vs lag indicators, (ii) weekly scorecards and (ii) other measurement tips in the full book summary.
Regain Control of your Time
You will never have enough time to do everything. Unless you intentionally use your time for your goals/vision, you’ll end up being distracted by low-payoff activities. This component addresses (i) how to get the highest return on your time, (ii) pre-plan your week and (iii) use different types of of time-blocking to safeguard your time from being hijacked.
Stay Accountable & Committed
Take full ownership for your results and do whatever it takes to fulfill your commitments. Get specific tips from complete book summary on (i) how to empower yourself with full ownership, (ii) make and strengthen your 12 Week Commitments.
Rolling out your First 12 Weeks + Your 13th Week
Your first 12 weeks will be the most crucial in your implementation. In the book, the authors take you through the first, second and last 4 weeks, followed by the 13th Week for reviewing, consolidation, celebration and refreshing yourself. There are also specific tips for application in a team-setting. Get an outline from our full 14-page summary.
Getting the Most from The 12 Week Year
In this article, we’ve briefly outlined some of the key insights and strategies you can use to achieve desired change. For more examples, details, and actionable tips to apply these strategies, do get our complete book summary bundle which includes an infographic, 14-page text summary, and a 24-minute audio summary.
This is a detailed guidebook with step-by-step tips and tools for installing your 12 Week Year. Besides the highlights in this summary, the book also includes various templates, worksheets, suggested agendas and tips for setting up your 12 Week Year. You can purchase the book here for the full mojo or visit 12weekyear.com for more details and resources or to plug in to the community.
About the Author of The 12 Week Year
The 12 Week Year: Get More Done In 12 Weeks Than Others Do In 12 Months is written by Brian Moran–an author, speaker and the President and Founder of The 12 Week Year. He has 30 years’ experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, consultant and coach, best known for his expertise in leadership and execution. He worked in management/executive positions with UPS, PepsiCo, and Northern Automotive, and has started and consulted with numerous businesses.
The 12 Week Year Quotes
“If you are not in control of your time, then you are not in control of your results.”
“When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”
“Vision is the starting point of all high performance. You create things twice; first mentally, then physically.”
“Life balanced is not about equal time in each area; life balance is more about intentional imbalance.”
“The secret to living your life to its potential is to value the important stuff above your own comfort.”
“Measurement drives the execution process. It is your touchstone with reality.”
“Accountability is first a mind-set, then an action.”