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‘The 12 Week Year’ – Keys to Consistent Execution and Success

Originally published
Originally published: 12/1/2023

This article by the best-selling author of “The 12 Week Year”, Brian Moran, was originally published years ago. But it is more than fitting now, so we brought it back for those who have not read about his incredible system.

Shorter-Term Planning & Execution Yields Success

Most companies and HVACR professionals are on a never-ending search for new ideas and strategies to better their processes and systems. They seek out new marketing techniques, sales ideas, cost-cutting measures, and customer service enhancements hoping that these new approaches will deliver better results. And some of these will and can increase productivity. However, the number one factor holding business owners back from achieving their full potential is not a lack of knowledge, intellect, or information. It’s not some new strategy or idea. It’s not additional training. It’s not a larger network. It’s not hard work, natural talent, or luck. 

What is the key market differentiator?

Execution is the single greatest market differentiator. Great companies and successful individuals execute better than their competition. So, the barrier standing between you and the life you are capable of living is a lack of consistent execution. 

How do you improve on execution?

The best and fastest way to consistent execution is to eliminate “annualized” thinking. One of the things that gets in the way of individuals and organizations effectively executing and achieving their best is the annual planning process. As strange as this might sound, annual goals and plans are often a barrier to high performance. This doesn’t mean annual goals and plans don’t have a positive impact. They do. There is no question you will do better with annual goals and plans than without any goals or plans. However, this annual process inherently limits performance.

The trap is referred to as annualized thinking. At the heart of annualized thinking is an unspoken belief that there is plenty of time in the year to make things happen. In January, December looks a long way off. We mistakenly believe that there is plenty of time in the year, and we act accordingly. We lack a sense of urgency, not realizing that every week, day, and moment is important. Ultimately, effective execution happens daily and weekly — not annually.

Redefine 12-Month Calendar Planning 

Let’s redefine a year: A year is no longer 12 months – it’s 12 weeks. There are no longer four periods in a year. That’s an old way of thinking. Each 12-week period stands on its own — it is your year.

Now you have a new end-game date to assess your success (or lack thereof). It narrows your focus to the week and more to the point, the day, which is where execution occurs. The 12-week year brings that reality front and center. When you set your goals in the context of a 12-week year, you no longer have the luxury of putting off critical activities, thinking that there is plenty of time left in the year. Once 12 weeks become your year, then each week, day, and moment, matters more.

The results can be profound. Most people who use this method experience about a 30% improvement in the first 12 weeks. 

Here are three steps to help you achieve more in the next 12 weeks than most will in 12 months:

        Set a 12-Week Goal
Annual goals are helpful, but they lack immediacy and urgency. Twelve-week goals create focus and urgency. Focus on what you want to happen over the next 12 weeks. The goal should be an outcome: income, sales production, and dollars saved, pounds lost. It should represent significant progress towards your longer-term vision. Limit your goals to a maximum of three and make certain each goal is specific and measurable.

        Build a 12-Week Plan
Twelve-week planning is much more effective than traditional planning because it is more predictable and focused. The key here is less is more. A 12-week plan embraces the notion of being great at a few things versus mediocre at many. For each goal, identify tactics. Tactics are the daily and weekly actions that drive the accomplishment of the goal. If the goal is the “where,” then the tactics are the “how.” Again, less is more. Focus on the critical few. Identify the four or five actions that you need to take daily and weekly to accomplish your goal. These are your tactics.

        Apply the Weekly Routine
Having a goal and a plan is helpful, but it’s not enough. The key to your success is executing your plan. To ensure you execute at a high level, adopt the Weekly Routine.

Those are the steps. Now follow these three things weekly and you can’t help but get better!

The Weekly Routine

    1.    Plan your week — Take a few minutes at the beginning of each week to plan your week. Use your plan to identify the tactics that are due this particular week. The plan is not a glorified to-do list; rather, it reflects the critical strategic activity that needs to take place this week to achieve your 12-week goals.

    2.    Score your week — At the end of each week you will want to score your execution. In the end, you have greater control over your actions than you do your outcomes. The most effective lead indicator you have is a measure of your execution. You are scoring your execution, not your results. Calculate a weekly execution score by dividing the number of tactics completed by the number due.

    3.    Meet with a peer group – Did you know that you are seven times more likely to be successful if you meet regularly with a group of your peers? Find two to three other people who are committed and willing to meet for 15 to 20 minutes each week. In your meeting, report on how you’re doing against your goals and how well you’re executing. Encourage and challenge one another.

That’s it! Three simple steps. Plan your week, score your week, and meet with a group of peers. Do them, and you will improve. Here’s the catch – the steps are easy to do, and even easier not to do. So, commit to engage with them for the next 12 weeks and watch what happens.   

Brian Moran, President and Founder of Strategic Breakthroughs, has more than 30 years of expertise as an executive, coach, and consultant. His best-selling book, “The 12 Week Year” is a powerful guide to creating results To learn more about Brian Moran, please visit

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