By August 2, 2010 Read More →

Day 2 – Monday Vision – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Week

Day 2 - Monday Vision

“Map out your future, but do it in pencil.” ~Jon Bon Jovi

Your OutcomeTake control of your week and create a compelling vision to guide you throughout the week.

Welcome to day 2 of 30 Days of Getting Results.  Today we take a look at Monday Vision from Getting Results the Agile Way.

Have you ever had a week fly by and when Friday hits you’re asking yourself, “Where did the week go?”  Not any more.  With Monday Vision, you take a moment to jump ahead to the end of the week, and you ask yourself, “If this were Friday, what are three results I want under my belt?”   Monday is your chance to create a compelling vision for your week.   Monday Vision is a simple pattern for helping you achieve more effective results each week.  It’s also a great way to deal with a case of the Mondays.

The Challenges
Monday Vision can help you deal with three common challenges:

  1. You’re overwhelmed.  You have way more to do, than you can possibly get done during your week.
  2. You’re underwhelmed. You’re not inspired.   You might have a bunch of things you should or could do, but you don’t have the energy for it.
  3. You get off track.   You spend your time on a lot of things, but at the end of the week, you didn’t get done the things you really needed to get done.

The Response
On Mondays, you simply identify three key results you want for the week.  This is your vision for the week.  It puts you in the drivers seat and you get to decide what you want to accomplish.  Rather than get lost among the sea of things to do, you bubble up the three most important outcomes for the week, and these three outcomes help guide you throughout your week.
This simple pattern has a few benefits:

  • Each week is a fresh start.
  • It’s a way to make your week more meaningful.
  • It’s a way to help you prioritize and focus.
  • It’s a way to help you improve your results.

Turning Your Results into Compelling Stories
After you identify your three results, you can turn them into stories.  You can turn them into simple, one-liner stories, where you are the hero.  For example, let’s say three results you want for the week are:

  1. Finish my project plan
  2. Create my slides for my presentation
  3. Complete key stakeholder reviews

This might not be very compelling.  You can spruce it up as simple stories and connect it to your values.  For example:

  1. Win the race to finish my project plan in record time.
  2. Create a presentation that sets a new bar for my personal best.
  3. Turn my stakeholders into raving fans.

You have to play around to find what connects with your heart.  What you end up with is three stories to drive your week.  These stories are hand-crafted and personal – after all, you made them.  They are yours to make happen.

Your Assignment

  1. Identify the three things you really want to accomplish for the week.
  2. Turn your three outcomes into simple stories that you feel passionate about.

Don’t worry if you have trouble figuring out your three best results, and don’t worry if you have a hard time turning them into compelling stories.  What’s important is simply trying the exercise.  You might surprise yourself, and in the best case, you’ll inspire yourself to a new level you didn’t know was possible.

Photo by Gesal.

12 Comments on "Day 2 – Monday Vision – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Week"

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  1. Jenn says:

    JD, thanks for this note, I may get back into doing this again the 3 a day and weekly goal. I will try to sit down and make my Monday vision this morning ;) take care, Jenn

  2. Sandra Lee says:

    Hi, I have my three results, just need to work on turning them into compelling stories.

    This is a great step-by-step instruction!

  3. Kate says:

    I love the idea of ‘sprucing up’ my to do list. Making the items on it really meaningful and compelling will have a huge impact on my motivation!

  4. JD says:

    @ Jenn — The key is to make it fun and remind yourself that you’re the one that gets to make things happen all week long.

    @ Sandra — Thank you! I tried to get a bit more specific here so that it’s easy to follow. If you can nail creating 3 compelling stories for your life each week, you take your game to a whole new level.

    @ Kate — Right on. Because you are choosing what you want to achieve, it’s empowering. It’s subtle but *choose to* over *have to* makes all the difference.

  5. Rob Boucher says:

    The stories is a new concept for me even though I’ve been reading Agile results. Hmm. I’ll hae to work on that.

  6. JD says:

    @ Rob — I’ve debated how much to focus on them because it’s a progressive shift:
    1. shift from activities to outcomes
    2. shift from outcomes to stories

    Even the first shift is tough, and language is tough. I find teaching folks to go from task to outcome or results focus is eye-opening, but also a challenge for a lot of people. Once they make that shift though, they are cooking with fire. From there, I show them how to use stories to fan their flames … then I step back and watch people at their best … and it’s a breakthrough.

  7. JD says:

    @ Rob — I should add that we’re actually wired for stories, which is nice because this approach automatically taps our innate ability. I forget which book it is, but basically even babies do scenario and “what if” planning. They use stories to test and learn and make sense of their world.

  8. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. I love your three story drivers .. and when life has calmed down slightly .. I’ll be doing this ..

    I guess you could do this for tweeting .. is this how you drive your tweets? .. ie set the table and then add the story menu, before posting .. I’ve thought about this for a while .. but I need my head clear before I start this scenario ..

    Thanks – Hilary ..

  9. Nisten says:

    I’m the star in the compelling three stories to perform and win myself, make my own world meanful, which makes the common things to be uncommon, wow, super cooooooooooooooooool!

  10. JD says:

    @ Hilary — Thank you. I’m not tweeting yet. I’m sure I’ll start in the near future, but I’m focused on other things at the moment. I did get a good book that will help me think about my Twitter path.

    @ Nisten — It creates a lot of possibilities. Create a blockbuster or an epic adventure or whatever floats your boat ;)

  11. yumi says:

    Thank you for the nice feedback for my Day 1- Round #2. It is absolutely encouraging to have your input. I just finished reading your Day 2 post and going through my note for Day 2 from 1/28/2014.

    So… I actually made a template for weekly, daily, and monthly 3 goals starting January 2014 and up until December 2018. Ambitious, right? In the note, I wrote to myself “I believe in daily small goals and hitting a big accomplishment one after another as a result. I hope I will fill out those blank spaces diligently to be closer to my best self, my new me.”

    For the first round, I just focused on making three goals for each day. Indeed, it is tough to make the shift from activities to outcome and to stories. For the second round of 30 Days of Getting Results exercise, I will start making compelling stories for my 3 goals. I did try it for today’s goals. Actually, it is fun to make the stories where I am in touch with different types of inner goddess to take on challenges to honor her and make her happy (oh yea, fiction). My sense of creativity for daily humor is on fire…

    • JD says:

      Excellent!

      You are on track and well on your way to new levels of productivity, as well as unleashing the Productive Artist in you.

      Here’s a tip on how I do the Monday Vision process:
      Either Sunday night, or Monday morning, I make a list of all the things I want to achieve for the week. It’s usually pretty long list, but it takes me about 5 minutes.

      This gives me a good look across everything for the week (my balcony view.)

      I then bubble up my 3 most important outcomes for the week. Literally, I’ll list my top 3 goals for the week, and then make some white space (I like breathing room), and then list everything else.

      Next, I try to hone in on a simple vision for the week. One thing that helps me is imagining if it was Friday, what are 3 highlights or 3 key achievements or 3 wins that I want to look back on.

      I then try to turn my 3 goals or outcomes into simple one-liner stories:
      - Win a raving fan stakeholder for project X
      - Complete my vision/scope for project Z in record time
      - Master being “in the moment” while I clear my backlog in record time

      So what this gives you is a list of all your reminders for the week at a glance, a short-list of high-value goals (your 3 wins for the week), and a simple way to remember them and get excited about them.

      The more you can connect your 3 Wins or 3 outcomes or 3 goals for the week, back to your personal values (such as fun, adventure, learning, empowerment, quality, etc.) the better.

      This will give you more juice for everything you do, and help you deal with any setbacks and power through any obstacles with a clear end in mind.