“Win each period,” was ingrained into my psyche while I was volunteering as a student athletic trainer for the University of Guelph Women’s Hockey team. This mantra re-told by their coaches during each intermission between periods, at every hockey game. When the team won each period, they won the game; this was about execution and taking appropriate action.
How do you “win each period” to succeed? Once the goal is set it is about doing everything in your power to execute the action steps necessary to get there. In ten years of kinesiology practice I always coached clients that by completing each step of their fitness or rehab program, their end goal will be reached.
This mentality is the same in business, life and sport. First, determine your goal, write it out and place it somewhere highly visible. Now take this goal and break it down into smaller action steps. How detailed you get is completely up to you.
What is a period? The periods are defined in various ways. David Allen of “Getting Thing Done,” fame asks people to align their 50,000 elevation goals with their runway action steps. In business your outcome is a result of your actions; even in-action is an action, because you are choosing to do something else. In sport strength and conditioning – your fitness level today is a measure of the training you have done in the 30-42 days previous.
A period is any length of time that you desire. Often in business we speak about Quarters, but quarterly reports are an after affect of what has happened in the months, weeks, days and hours that are part of that Quarter. Winning each period is about breaking down your goal into a set of actions, such as an Annual Plan. From there take the annual plan and break into to quarters, months, weeks and days.
There are often things that come up in the day that must be taken care of in that day however, set out each day and week with a few items that must get done for you to be successful. Ask yourself what are a few actions that you can take today that will progress you towards your goal.
How do I stay focused during each period? When evaluating new tasks and projects, ask yourself these questions –”will this _______ take me towards or away from my goal?” and “is this something that I can be the very best at?(my hedgehog)” We are on a path that is constantly diverging, with constant decisions to go left or right. How often do you evaluate that you are winning each period? Today I set out to complete a sub 40 minute Grouse Grind, in this case it is broken down in quarters. I knew that each quarter had a desired lap time. As well, that I had to be at the 3/4 by 31 minutes to complete finish under 40 minutes. At the start my Garmin Forerunner was set to alert me every 10 minutes. I had two places to evaluate my progress, every 10 minutes and at each quarter. Each time I reached a lap point or the alert chimed I adjusted my pace so that finished in 38:48.
How closely do I monitor each period? Don’t forget to review. The more closely you pay attention to your own metrics, the more adaptable you can be to changing environments. A win can be the fleeting moment of reaching your goal or knowing that your plan is working and progress is being made. You don’t have to scrutinize every detail, but look for trends. Are you wandering away or towards your destination? I didn’t pay attention to my financial metrics for awhile and then it was much more difficult to get back on course. The lesson is that the more closely you monitor your wins/losses the easier it will be to get that next win and stay on your desired path.
(two of my favourite business books)
Allen, David Getting Things Done
Collins, Jim (hedgehog) Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t
How do you evaluate success?