Since you don’t want to miss the boat, do you become drunk with all the possibilities as our economy continues to grow and new opportunities appear on your horizon? Are you facing an ever-increasing list of actions you want to take to move your company forward? So many choices and they are all good!
Leadership author, John Maxwell, says, “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.” In reality, less is more. But how and what do you say yes to? If you can habitually answer “yes” to the following questions, your company is well on its way to being successful and leveraging the power of priorities.
The 80/20 Rule
Most people have heard of the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 Rule. The 80/20 Rule means that in anything a few (20 percent) are vital and many (80 percent) are trivial. You can apply the 80/20 Rule to almost anything.
- 80 percent of your sales will come from 20 percent of your sales staff
- 80 percent of your stock comes from 20 percent of your suppliers
- 20 percent of your staff will cause 80 percent of your problems
- but another 20 percent of your staff will provide 80 percent of your production. It works both ways.
The value of the Pareto Principle is that it reminds us to focus on the 20 percent that matters. Of the things you do during your day, 20 percent really matter. Those 20 percent produce 80 percent of your results. Identify and focus on those things.
Therefore, when it comes to your priorities, 20% of your priorities will give you 80% of your results. This provides access to dramatic improvements in profitability by focusing on the most effective areas and eliminating, ignoring, automating, delegating or retraining the rest.
As a leader you must decide what your top (3-5 max) priorities are for any given time frame. Like genocide, homicide and suicide, DECIDE is about death (“cide). To DECIDE is to kill off alternatives leaving one option alive. And groups don’t make decisions. Real decision-making comes down to one person-you.
Every company I have worked with has developed their own methods for determining priorities. The problem is that most are not disciplined enough to limit their number of priorities. “Too many” generally equals “not accomplished.”
Your Priority Habits
If you can habitually answer “yes” to the following questions, your company is well on its way to being successful and leveraging the power of priorities.
- Have you decided, chosen and ranked 3-5 priorities for the quarter (or year)?
- Do you know what your top 1 priority is out of the 3-5?
- Do all employees know these priorities, and can they report on their productivity compared to these priorities?
Answering “Yes” to those questions drives alignment within your company. And as Jim Collins states, “Your success is 1% vision and 99% alignment.” So, don’t be drunk with possibilities. Sober up!
DECIDE your priorities wisely. Your success is the sum total of all your decisions.
©2014-2020 David Paul Carter. All rights reserved.
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