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Forget Annual Planning. Switch to the 12-Week Year - ResidentialSystems.com

Forget Annual Planning. Switch to the 12-Week Year

Have you ever begun a new year with lofty goals and ambitions only to fail at achieving any of them? Just like New Year’s resolutions, annual business goals look great on paper, but rarely go according to plan. We changed that this year and you can too.
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Have you ever begun a new year with lofty goals and ambitions only to fail at achieving any of them? Just like New Year’s resolutions, annual business goals look great on paper, but rarely go according to plan. We changed that this year and you can too.

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I attended a conference in April extolling the virtues of the “12-Week Year,” a program and book by our speaker, Brian Moran. Moran claims that annual thinking gives us a false sense of security because we perceive there’s so much time left to accomplish our goals (he’s so right about that!) In December or January, next year seems a long way off and we end up feeling the urgency only in the fourth quarter. Instead, he says to jettison the annual plan and pick three to four critically important objectives to focus on over 12 weeks.

I returned from the conference and rallied our leadership team around the concept (my team is growing accustomed to my animated revelations after conferences). We implemented our first “12-Week Year” sprint over the summer. Once we’d agreed on our three goals, we printed posters with the name of our mini campaign (“Make Livewire A Great Place to Work”) and posted them all over our office. I’d love to say our first “12 Week Year” came in on time, but we delivered two months late. My mistake was not mandating weekly project meetings and allowing our employees to get caught up in the whirlwind of daily activities.

While eight weeks late didn't make me happy, it taught us some valuable lessons. We should’ve picked easier goals to accomplish and met more frequently as a team. Our most recent “12-Week Year” planning session just wrapped up and we took these mistakes into account as we planned out our next sprint. We all went around the room and verbally committed to each goal by saying “I’m in.” The whole process felt very collaborative vs. previous planning sessions where we didn't all come together in the goal design process.

Our goals this period are:

1.Improve the way we execute after the sale and in the field
2.Focus on developing & nurturing our employees
3.Staff our Network Operations Center full time

Piece of cake, right?

I'm excited to see how things turn out over the coming 12 weeks and would love to hear your experiences planning 2017 as we approach another New Year.

Stay frosty and see you in the field.

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