This is the heart of the Agile Results system.
It’s a pattern I call Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection. It’s probably the single most important thing I teach everybody I mentor. It’s the same approach I use to lead myself and my teams. It’s a way to help set yourself up for success each day. It’s also a way to keep learning and growing. It’s simple, but it’s powerful. In fact, it’s power is its simplicity. The way it works is, on Mondays, you figure out the 3 outcomes you want for the week. Each day you identify 3 outcomes you want to accomplish. On Friday, you reflect on 3 things going well and 3 things to improve. It’s that simple. Here’s the rhythm of results in more detail.
Each week is a fresh start. On Mondays, I identify 3 outcomes (or results) I want for the week. To do this:
- I remind myself what I learned from last Friday’s reflections.
- I scan my Hot Spots (my Hot Spots include my work projects, personal projects, and my life frame (mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun).
- I scan my calendar for any key events for the week.
- I scan my inbox for new information and action items.
As I scan, I use 5 guiding questions:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- What MUST be done? … What SHOULD be done? … What COULD be done? (all based against what I want to acocmplish)
- What value am I delivering? (I measure in value delivered vs. activity performed and value is in the eye of the beholder … whether it’s value to myself, my manager, the company, the world, etc.)
- How am I improving myself in key areas: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun?
- What are the key things that if I don’t get done … I’m screwed? (By using the principle of contrast, I paint a picture of where I don’t want to be.)
The most important question I ask myself is, “if this were Friday, what 3 things would I want under my belt?” I know I’m done when I have a good mental picture of the week’s 3 most important outcomes (notice outcomes vs. activity), I know my big risks for the week, and I know my MUSTs vs. SHOULDs vs. COULDs.
Each day is a fresh start. I think of 3 outcomes for the day. I may have a bunch of activities and tasks, but I think of the 3 most important results I want for the day. By figuring out 3 outcomes for the day, I can easily prioritize all of my action items. The 3 outcomes are also my tests for success. It’s how I set myself up for a great day. It’s also how I pick myself back up if I fall off the horse. Imagine each day figuring out the 3 best things you can do, and actually working on them. It’s simple and effective.
This is the day where I do my reflection. To do this, I ask two questions:
- What are 3 things going well?
- What are 3 things to improve?
As input to this exercise, I first scan my Daily Outcomes for the past week. (This is fast for me because I have a simple tickler list for each day) . I also do a quick mental scan of my accomplishments.
It’s a Simple Pattern for Results
Well, that’s the heart of the approach. What I like most about this approach is that it’s low-overhead and it works. I’ve done away with over-engineered approaches, where you die the death of a 1000 paper cuts in administration. I also like this approach because it’s systematic, yet holistic and flexible. Basically, it’s designed for getting real results, in real life.