The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could accomplish all you want to do in 365 days, in just 12 weeks? That was my hope when I picked up The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. However this book is more about setting specific goals every 12 weeks and committing fully to them to see results. This book is probably more useful for a leader in a company trying to bring about organisational change but it does have some benefits for the regular reader.

The whole idea of the book is that when we have an entire year to work on a goal we tend to procrastinate as we think we have plenty of time in the future to reach our goal. Even if we make little progress in the first few months, we convince ourselves that we can make up the difference in the final months. Instead, when we are dealing with a goal over 12 weeks – we don’t have that kind of wiggle room and when something (or someone) isn’t working we are forced to address the problem straight away.

One aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was how the authors viewed greatness. We tend to think that it’s only when we reach our goal that we have achieved greatness. The authors explain that you achieve greatness when you choose to do something and follow through. Someone like Michael Phelps didn’t suddenly become great when he won his Olympic medals. He was great for all the practice he put in beforehand. This is something that we can all take inspiration from.

However, one issue I have with the argument in the book is on the topic of accountability. The authors argue that ‘Accountability is not consequences; it’s ownership’. Accountability is not having someone watching over checking in with you. Instead it’s taking personal ownership of your actions. To me, this is great in principal but where most people struggle. I think some people need outer accountability in order to reach their goals. That’s why organisations like Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous are so successful. People need that check-in as accountability to stay on track. I don’t think the authors make a convincing enough argument that people are strong enough to be their own accountability.

My overall thoughts on the book is that I like the idea of focusing on one particular goal over a short period of time to help spur some momentum. However I think the book could have gotten the point across in a long article rather than having to write an entire book on it. At times it’s a little repetitive. I’d recommend this book to any boss who is trying to make their workplace more productive.

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