Seven Days Makes One... Strong: The Key To Building Success

Heiner Karst

building success

It is pretty well established that elite sportspeople achieve success by setting goals and meticulously planning incremental progress towards their intended outcome, isn’t it?And do you know what I’ve learned? That to do so, apart from the relentless discipline, often obsession, they focus every week on what they have to do each day of that week to get those improvements. That this week’s plan is part of monthly and quarterly goals that map out their path to where they want to be (and usually know they’ll be) by the end of the year; or at that key event.

Lessons From Experience

Having coached and mentored hundreds of business executives, business owners and high potential professionals transitioning into really strong leadership over the last ten years, I’m not going to ask you the question of whether this attitude is transferable to business success. In fact...I’m going to suggest that this is a self-evident truth.Maybe not as obsessively, but I can assure you that every truly successful business professional or leader will admit to focusing on each week, every week: Planning it. Executing it. Measuring it. Learning from it. Celebrating it.In my blog post The 5% that know WHY, I outline some of the traits that differentiate those one in 20 successful business people and individuals from the other 19. And those traits run pretty much along similar lines to the sports analogy above.So that’s what I’d like to focus on in this article: Showing you that success is planned and executed week by week and every week.

How Do You Build Success?

Firstly, Goals (or KPIs)

Although some smaller businesses don’t use Goals or KPIs, even budgets, I think we can generally accept that no successful business can survive, let alone thrive in the long term without them, yes?If you don’t know what you’re about and what you’re shooting for, how do you know whether you’re on track or not? You’d be like a yacht without a rudder, directionless. And at the mercy of the tides and the winds as to where you’d end up, wouldn’t you?Can you imagine a successful athlete or sportsperson without goals?

Secondly, Planning

You’ve all heard the cliché: "If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail", right? Another universal truth.We’ve already established that every successful person has annual goals. But without plans to execute them, very little "just happens."Annual KPIs are broken down and planned into quarters and months. And so, each quarter cops an allocation of what each goal needs for it to happen in that quarter. And the same applies to each month. But we execute KPIs every week. Knowing what needs to be done every day that week.I write more about this in Why Does Planning Seem So Hard For So Many? and also Last Gasp Chance On Your 2014 Goals?

Thirdly, Execution

So, what must happen each week of this month, to assure we are where we want to be at the end of the month – with no surprises? We carry out activities on relevant days in each week. A week is granular enough to facilitate planning, doing, monitoring and assuring. A month is far too broad to be able to measure progress. Measuring daily, while possible, is rarely necessary. But the weekly emphasis is just perfect for building and maintaining the necessary momentum.No matter how much planning they are preceded by, successful outcomes happen in the doing.

And Now... For The How

Have One Tool You Can Rely On

Let me share with you that I use the diary on my smartphone as my one tool that enables me to do all this planning, executing and measuring work. Why? Because it is something I carry around with me all the time. My smartphone diary is synchronized with diaries on every other relevant device, so that there’s no risk of anything "falling between the cracks." This is important to me. because I rely on the diary completely. If it’s not in the diary, it doesn’t get done, or I don’t show up. Period.

What Do I Do Each Week To Make This Happen?

The key is to plan each week at the start of that week.Some do this last thing Friday before they leave the office.Others prefer first thing Monday.I do it Sunday evening.Whatever works for you, OK?It takes me no more than 10 minutes.

Here’s what I do:

  1. First, I reflect on how last week went. I let the activities in my diary from that week remind me what I did. What did or didn’t I achieve and why? What did I learn to do better next week? And where do I slot those tasks I didn’t get finished last week into this week?
  2. Secondly, I understand what’s already in the diary for this week that I am committed to. That way I get a feel for busy-ness levels, resource requirements and priorities.
  3. Thirdly, I populate available slots in the diary with tasks from my goals relevant to this week. That way I know they’re going to get done. Why? Because I can forget about them until the diary reminder goes off and then I "just do it."
  4. Finally, I leave some white spaces for the inevitable stuff you’re going to "cop", particularly if you have a boss or customers, right? Of course, they might necessitate some priority rearranging. Staying in control is quite straightforward because we are talking about juggling a week. Just a week. Not a month or a quarter. Five days.

And at the end of the month I do the same at a macro level for the month. And the quarter.

What's The Next Step to Success?

So, how well do you already apply the necessary discipline to make this work for you?And if not yet, how badly do you want to achieve the success you aspire to? If it’s really badly, I’m excited for you. Why? Because this is no rocket science.What I’ve learned works best is to write a goal to develop this into a habit. I mean "Every week".In Want to Turbocharge Your Goals? I share research that proves that if you share your written goal with a buddy who will help hold you accountable, you increase the likelihood of your intended outcome by over 85%.So why not find someone you know and trust that can help do this for you - your “conscience buddy.”Go on, what if you "just did it", to be sure to look back at the end of the year in satisfaction rather than in regret?Got questions? Shoot me a quick email; or give me a call on 0419 898596.

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