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The Principles of Periodization

Here are three principles you need to take your practice to the next level.

By Brian Moran

“Breakthrough Performance in 12 Weeks” showed you how to take your business to the next level with the help of a strategy called periodization. (This strategy has you redefine a year as a 12-week period, so that you’re more motivated to reach important goals more quickly.) To make this strategy really work for you, you’ll need to employ the following three principles: accountability, commitment and “greatness in the moment.” Let’s take a closer look at each.

Accountability is probably the most misunderstood concept in business today. For example, I hear advisors say, “I need someone to hold me accountable.” Or a manager will say, “We need to do a better job of holding our people accountable.” But that’s not really accountability—that’s simply holding someone else’s feet to the fire for poor performance. If anything, accountability is about ownership, and it comes from within. It’s a character trait, a life stance, a willingness to continually ask yourself, “What more can I do to get results?”

The very nature of accountability rests on the understanding that each of us has freedom of choice. In the end, there are no “have-tos” in life. All of life is a choice, even when—especially when—demands are made of you. But there is a big difference when you approach something as a choice vs. as a have-to. When you approach something as a have-to, it’s a burden and you don’t give it your best shot. When you approach it as a choice, you tap into your resources and give it your all. That’s an empowering stance, and it changes everything. You move from resistance to empowerment, from limits to possibilities, from mediocrity to greatness.

Reaching greatness takes commitment. The dictionary defines commitment as “the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to some course of action.” In a sense, commitment—a promise, really—is accountability projected into the future. You claim ownership of a future action or result—no matter what. If you’re steadfast in your resolve, you’ll reap personal and professional rewards. Keeping a promise to yourself, after all, builds character and self-esteem. Keeping a promise to others builds strong relationships and success, bit by bit.

Greatness in the moment
So, when do you become a champion? When do you become great? You may think, “When I achieve top performance, and pick up an industry award along the way.” Not so. The instant you choose to do what you know needs to be done, that’s when greatness really happens.

The shift from mediocre to great on a daily and weekly basis may seem minor, but it’s not. Success begins with the little steps: For an agent, these steps include having two to three extra openers a week, putting in five more calls a day and setting aside three hours out of a 45-hour work week for strategic activity. For a manager, they include recognizing one more person a day, delegating additional tasks, devoting three hours a week to strategic priorities, and praising and encouraging someone who’s struggling. With the help of small steps like these, you’ll see ample results anywhere from six months to two years down the line.

Remember, there is no mystery to greatness; it comes with the discipline of taking necessary steps each and every day. And if you employ those three principles—accountability, commitment, “greatness in the moment”—success needn’t take years; 12 weeks is enough time to make exciting things happen for your business.

Be sure to read Moran’s companion piece, “Breakthrough Performance in 12 Weeks.”

Brian Moran is founder and president of Strategic Breakthroughs. He works with industry leaders and producers to improve performance, and his clients include New York Life, MassMutual, State Farm and Prudential. Contact him at 517-393-0765 or

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