[This post is excerpted from our new ebook, ROADMAPP]
The highest priority when discussing Priorities is recognizing that there’s not much to say about prioritizing. But what there is to say is important.
Inevitably, as you execute your business plan, you will find yourself overcommitted. Unexpected crises will demand attention. What looked simple will turn complicated. You will unexpectedly discover that your perfect money machine has too many moving parts, and you can’t keep them all oiled. You, the master juggler, will suddenly find there are too many balls in the air.
How to get back in control? If you can’t grow more hands, which balls should be dropped?
You don’t want to wait to decide until it happens, because you will be stressing then and less capable of thinking clearly. Right now, ask yourself, “If I could only work on a few things, which would they be? What is most mission-critical?”
Conversely, if you suddenly have extra capacity, which opportunities would you add to the plan first?
As the leader, your highest personal priorities should be the ones with the most leverage – the ones that have a high ratio of impact to effort.
- High leverage: Impact > effort
- Low leverage: Impact < effort
Drop or delegate the low leverage activities. You’re important. Act that way. Be honest with yourself about your motives. For example, if you are making the coffee at the office to model for your employees the kind of behavior you value, it’s a high leverage activity. If you’re doing it because you don’t want to bother anyone else, don’t you have something more important to do?
Make a list of activities that might contribute to achieving your goals. Rank the items for importance. Be willing to cut loose the bottom-dwellers. When you have new capacity, be quick to add activities that didn’t make the initial cut, or find even more powerful ones.
Live by your list. Review it often.