Let’s first deconstruct how do you know what to work on in order to ensure that you and your team are developing?
One way to get a grip on that would be to ask yourself: “If I was doing this reflection one year from now and looking back on the year that has passed, what should have happened during this past year in order for me to feel that I and/or my team have made serious progress?”
Because as Peter Drucker famously said: “What managers manage is change. The rest is admin.”
So that is the project.
That is what needs to change in order for you and/or your team to feel that you are actually developing. And as I have written about earlier, development is not only important because it means that we are making progress, it’s a key to our well-being, motivation and job satisfaction
But a whole year’s worth of change is a lot of change. So what typically happens is that we undershoot the runaway and don’t get to where we wanted to be. It was a nice dream.
We fall short of our own expectations.
The problem is not that we are being over ambitious, we need to be ambitious. The problem is that we are trying to chew off too big a bite.
So now ask yourself the same question but reframe it to just 3 months, the magic 90 days: If I was doing this reflection 90 days from now and looking back at these 90 days that have passed, what should have happened during these 90 days in order for me to feel that I and/or my team have made serious progress?
This is a horizon that is within our reach, we can almost see the contours of the finish line as we get going. It’s not that far, we can do this. We have set a goal that we can see ourselves completing within a reasonable time frame.
So personally I have given up yearly goals and targets. I have a long-term plan, which is more a direction that I am heading than it is a measurable goal. With that direction in mind, I work in 90-day sprints. It gives me a completely different sense of accomplishment.
Try it out for yourself.
And if you need more resources to get you going, here are my favourite tools:
Best self 90-day planner – This is at the core of my productivity.
If you would like to study this 12-week-year principle more in depth, here is a great book that originally inspired me:
The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months
This the ninth blog post in a series where Mike is exploring: