The following is an excerpt from “Rhythm: How to Achieve Breakthrough Execution and Accelerate Growth” by Patrick Thean. Copyright 2016 by Leadline, Inc.
PREPARE TO HAVE A GREAT WEEK
Monday. You work hard through the week. Suddenly it’s Friday. Your buddy asks you how your week was and you realize that you don’t really know. You know you worked hard, very hard. But you cannot recall what you accomplished. And you know you have another mountain of work for the coming week. In your head you have a giant to-do list, and you aren’t sure what items you will end up checking off. That’s a tough week! Have you had weeks like that? I have. We’ve all had weeks like that. But weeks like that usually do not move your priorities forward. And they do not move the company forward. Remember that this is a thirteen-week race. Every person in the company must be accountable for having a great week that pushes personal, departmental, and company priorities forward. If you are not well prepared for the week, you have already lost the battle before the week even started!
To have a great week, we all have to take a few minutes at the end of each week to review, learn, and plan for a great week next week.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.” The Meeting with Myself is the single most important thing you can do to stop having tough weeks and start only having great weeks. Take Abraham Lincoln’s advice and sharpen your axe. At the end of every week, take some time out to briefly review the week that just ended and prepare for a great week ahead. Here are three easy steps to do that:
Step 1: Identify your victories.Review the week that just ended: How did you perform? Did you discover any insights? What were your big wins that will help you or the team achieve the plan? Status your priorities and KPIs on your dashboard: Actively look for bright spots, those activities that helped you maintain green or even SuperGreen, the ones that the rest of the team might be able to replicate or scale. Bright spots are rare, so you really have to search with purpose to notice them. If you discover one, then prepare to share and discuss it with the team.
Step 2: Determine what you’re accountable for. Do you have any priorities and KPIs that are statused red or yellow? If so, come up with a corrective action plan to discuss at next week’s Weekly Adjustment Meeting.
Step 3: Plan for a successful next week. Based on your review, status, and the plan for the quarter, what should your priorities be for the next week? Don’t just stop at your own priorities. Consider what you need to do to help the team achieve the overall company plan. Visualize what a great week will look like. Complete the sentence “I will be successful if . . .” I’ve provided a simple Meeting with Myself template to help you. You can download it at www.RhythmSystems.com.
Asking good questions can often lead us to the right answers. Ask yourself questions as you review the week. Over time, you will develop your favorite questions. To get you going, here are some questions to help you review your week.
Step 1: Identify your victories.
- What obstacles did I overcome this week?
- How did I help another teammate this week?
- Did I move any yellows to greens this week? How did I do it?
- Do I have any SuperGreens? How did I achieve those?
Step 2: Determine what you’re accountable for.
- How did I do on my priorities and KPIs? Am I on track to achieve these priorities as part of the company’s overall execution plan for the quarter?
- Am I stuck on anything? Any priorities or KPIs that are red or yellow that I am not sure how to solve?
- Did I complete the tasks that I had committed to this week? (I’ll talk more about tasks in the next chapter.)
- If I accomplished my priorities for the week, did it have the result that I was expecting? What can I learn or share from this?
Step 3: Plan for a successful next week.
- What is the company’s main focus for the quarter, and what can I do to help?
- What should my own main focus be for next week?
- Based on my review and the plan for the quarter, what are the three most important things I should do next week?
- Whom do I need help from next week and who can help me?
Tim Johnson, VP of Operations at AvidXchange, told me, “Having to take stock of weekly victories to share with the team has been an extremely good habit to help my team focus on achieving something every week. Nobody wants to say that they didn’t have any victories.
You can also always tell the real victories from the fake or filler victories—you know, the ones that you make up or inflate because you didn’t have any actual victories. Everyone can have a bad or unproductive week once in a while, but the Meeting with Myself minimizes the number of bad weeks that I or the members of my team have had.”
Get your brain engaged and prepare for a successful week. The company that gets the most brains working wins. Research shows that at most companies around the world only 35 percent of employees are fully engaged in their work. The other 65 percent are clearly less productive. Get everyone on your team engaged. Weekly self-reviews will also accelerate a leader’s development. A self-aware leader who continuously learns and improves is already on the journey of becoming a great leader. Not only will a Meeting with Myself help the entire team execute like a world-class crew team, it will also grow you as a leader. Slow down, meet with yourself, and be purposeful every single week.
“Rhythm: How to Achieve Breakthrough Execution and Accelerate Growth” can be purchased via StartupNation.com below: