Peter Drucker once observed, “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” Organizations seem to model this behavior all too often. The lust for more often dilutes our ability to focus on a narrow set of essential priorities. Unfortunately, leaders can race enthusiastically in the wrong direction.
So how do you ensure that your priorities are not moving the organization efficiently in the wrong direction? You must test your priorities to ensure they are:
1. Aligned – Are my priorities aligned with the organization’s vision? Without alignment your priorities will take you to a destination you never intended to go.
2. Narrow – Are the number of my priorities manageable? One of the greatest ways to dilute your priorities is to have too many.
3. Clear – Are my priorities marked with extraordinary focus? If you cannot state the priority in a single, well-defined, remarkably clear sentence, then your priorities will be prone to grow wider rather than deeper.
4. Scheduled – Are my priorities built into my daily schedule? Most people prioritize their schedule. While that’s good, it’s more important to schedule your priorities.
5. Evaluated – Do I regularly assess the progress and effectiveness of my priorities? When you fail to evaluate regularly, you tend to be awakened by the pain of unintended consequences.
Question: Where are your priorities taking you?