Every year around this time, my middle schooler has to get to work on his science project. Granted, it was assigned at the start of the school year, but he never really does anything concrete until around the holidays. So here we are, trying to enjoy a little time away from school, and he’s got a massive project hanging over his head. So, I pulled out a little concept we call “milestoning” and encouraged him to break this project down into manageable chunks, each with its own deadline, that will ultimately get him to the big science project finish line and minimize stress in the process.
It made me realize how I’m bringing the work I do with clients into my personal life (my family loves this, as you can imagine). Considering this is the time of year we’re bombarded with the standard January “resolution” messaging, maybe it’s time to take a different approach to planning and execution in 2024, EOS-style.
Here’s how it looks: every year, you spend time getting clarity around what you’re going to accomplish for the year – three to seven goals that will move the needle in your business (or even for you personally). That 1-year plan sets your destination. From there you find your compass in what we call the 90-Day World – just like I did with my kid on his science project (same concept but his was in a shorter time frame). You break that big overwhelming plan of what you want to accomplish in the next 365 days into 90-Day chunks. During those 90-Days you set three to seven priorities (we call them Rocks) to stay laser focused on the things you must accomplish, providing a tangible sense of achievement each quarter that propels you toward your annual goals.
At the end of each 90-Day sprint, you take some time to reflect – to note your progress on the path to your bigger vision. In that reflection, you review your rocks from the prior quarter (checking to see how much progress you’ve made), you come back to that 1-year plan and your bigger vision for the organization (to make sure you haven’t lost sight of where you’re headed long-term) – then you reset your priorities for the next 90-days… rinse and repeat every quarter. Now you’re making incremental progress throughout the year toward your larger goals.
The problem in traditional planning is that we create our plan but don’t have any of the structure in place (like a 90-Day World) to make that plan a reality. We get excited about all the goals we want to accomplish, all the resolution talk in January, then get dragged back down into day-to-day firefighting in our business. The 90-Day World eliminates that, helping you focus on the important instead of the urgent. But it comes with a warning. Be careful what you wish for because once you adopt this approach, you start accomplishing more than you ever thought possible.