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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

3 Steps to Help You with Priorities and Decisions

Good business strategy begins with a clear set of priorities. Your entire life, not just your company or career, needs to be prioritized. Add to this the complexities of projects which will always need change order, adjustment and audibles called when necessary and applicable, plus a surprise now and then. It can get really hairy, but you still need to identify and decide what those priorities are going to be.

As a business consultant, one of the biggest challenges I see for every CEO is knowing how to prioritize the things that create alignment and engagement for their team and also deliver the results they need to be a successful leader. You don’t want to fall into the trap of calling everything a “top priority.” This will only create confusion among the teams that you are accountable for setting the direction. It takes a lot of foresight and practice to get this right.

Here are 3 things I think might help you:

1. Always decide on the important, not the convenient

There will always be important priorities that present themselves to you. Sometimes you may have to dig a little deeper to identify them or they may be clearly sticking out to you. Either way, make sure they are important and critical for the success of your organization. Don’t pick the convenient and easy things; your team needs to be working at a higher and more difficult level to really move the needle. These things will probably be goals that the previous management team “kicked the can” on down the road. You need to be the team that picks up the can and deals with it.

2. Engage in deep strategic thinking

Only 23% of executives are good at strategic thinking. This is a good time to engage your coach for help. They can provide you with a framework to use or the guidance you need to approaching this. If a golfer only has a 6-iron and a putter in the bag and no swing framework, that game score is going to be rough looking compared with the golfer with a coached swing to excellence and a full bag of clubs to utilize. Strategic thinking should help you identify business insights to achieve competitive advantage and strategic results to move your company ahead in the right direction.

3. Make Decisions Firmly and Change Them Rarely

Once you have come to a decision about your strategic priorities, you should review them at least once per quarter, but if you’ve done a good and thorough job, you should rarely have to change them. The only exception is if you completed that priority and integrated it into your business system and need a new priority to replace it. Great leaders do their homework, they make a firm decision on the priorities and change them rarely. Poor leaders don’t do their homework, are very slow in deciding and then change their priorities constantly and frequently. This creates misalignment and confusion among the Executive Team and those they lead.

Great leaders do their homework, they make a firm decision on the priorities and change them rarely.

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