Applying the 12-week year to your personal brand

The 12-Week Year is an idea from the book by Brian P. Morgan which is a quick and easy read should you want to explore this method of goal setting.

Have you heard of the 12-Week Year? The 12-Week Year redefines a year into your 12 weeks to reduce complacency or the perception of having time when it comes to your goals.

Instead of having to 12 months to achieve a goal, you have 12 weeks and instead of thinking about what you will do to reach your goal in each month, you consider what you need to do weekly to work toward your goal. Goal setting with a shorter time frame can be more effective as we tend to complete tasks in the time we have; if you give yourself a year, you will get it done in a year and if you give yourself the quarter, you will get it done in the twelve week period.

The 12-Week Year is an idea from the book by Brian P. Morgan which is a quick and easy read should you want to explore this method of goal setting.

As you’ll find in most goal setting methodologies the first step is to begin with the end in mind. Having a clear vision of where you want to go will help you break this down into smaller goals as you need to consider what it takes to achieve the goal, and what you would need to do to achieve it. A big goal achieved is a result of compounded effort.

For each of your goals you would ask yourself questions such as the following:

What is your big goal?

What smaller goals would you need to achieve to help you reach this goal?

What would you need to do each week to work toward your smaller goals?

It goes without saying that your goals would need to SMART.

SMART goals are Specific: You need to be clear on what you want to achieve.

This will help you break down bigger goals into smaller ones.

Measurable: As Peter Drucker says, “You can’t improve what you don’t measure. While you may not reach all of your goals as you thought you would, you need a way to measure success and failure. This will also help you identify areas you need to improve on or do more of when looking to understand how you achieved a goal or why you didn’t meet your targets. Remember that being able to repeat an effort is important as it shows you now have a clear path to success as opposed to the success being random.

When you come back to your goals, it’s easier to dwell on what didn’t work while overlooking what worked and understanding why it worked and whether you can apply what you have learnt to other areas.

Achievable: Setting unachievable goals can lead to a reduction in self confidence as you put yourself in a position where you are constantly failing. Ensure you have goals that challenge you but are also achievable to encourage you to keep going.

Realistic: Similar to being achievable, your goals need to be realistic. Having a good understanding of your resources can help you set realistic goals. Consider the amount of time you are able to allocate, the financial resources available for you to commit as well as the skills you may need to gain to achieve your goals.

Time bound: Deadlines encourage you to take action. We tend to follow through on deadlines that involve other people but we need to be more diligent with meeting deadlines no one else knows about. This will allow you to develop an honor system with yourself.

An honor system points to an individual operating based on trust, integrity and honesty. It is what gets us to deliver on what we say we will do, ensuring that our colleagues, friends and family continue to not only trust us but see us as reliable and dependable.

You need to be intentional about developing an honor system with yourself to begin to see yourself as a person that does what they say, achieves the goals they set and delivers on personal goals no one else knows about.

Honoring yourself is just as important as honoring others as it will affect how you present yourself in different situations.

Applying the 12-Week year

Your personal brand is who you are and how people perceive you. Personal branding is the ongoing process of (defining and) refining what you stand for; communicating this through verbal and non verbal channels. You have a personal brand as whether you work on it or not, people will form opinions based on what you consistently do or say. You want to ensure that you consistently act in ways that represent you and the person you want to become well.

Your reputation is influenced by what the people around you think about you and your actions so brand or be branded.

Depending on your career stage you can have several personal brand goals. A few examples of personal brand goals include

Become an industry thought leader

Be recognized as an expert in an industry niche

Increase exposure to potential employers

Monetising your personal brand (by consulting, training, speaking, writing, etc)

Using your personal brand to get a job at a company aligned with your personal vision

Learn or develop skills you have identified are in demand

Become a go to fo industry insights and trends

Grow your network (or be recognized as someone valuable people want in their network)

Define your personal vision, mission

You can have a listen to the free podcast Building African Brands on all streaming platforms for how to go about this. Once you have a vision you will be able to determine what kind of goals you need to set to get there. Your personal branding efforts should not be random and should instead help you move closer to your bigger goals, your vision and your mission. An example of this:

If you have you have a goal to be a thought leader your 12 week year plan may mimic this: Vision: To be a thought leader in my industry and go to for insights

As you can see, you can plan out each week allocating a few minutes or a few hours to each goal to ensure you are working towards your goals weekly.

The 12-Week year is effective as once you get to week 12, you have an opportunity to begin again and begin from a better place.

Will you be creating personal branding goals for the new year?

  • Chikumba is an online brand strategist and content marketer who works with people and organisations looking to bridge the gap between what they want to be known for and who they currently are. She educates on brand and online marketing fundamentals through the podcast Building African Brands.  These weekly New Horizon articles, published in the Zimbabwe Independent, are coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge, an independent consultant, managing consultant of Zawale Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, past president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society and past president of the Chartered Governance & Accountancy Institute in Zimbabwe (CGI Zimbabwe). — [email protected] or mobile: +263 772 382 852.

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