Why Too Many Priorities Is Hurting Performance

How many priorities is your team currently focusing on?






The Problem with Too Many Priorities

The problem with too many priorities is none of them get the attention they need to get accomplished. Having too many priorities leads to a lack of clarity by team members on what needs to be accomplished and when. Most importantly, too many priorities will ultimately cause performance to suffer.

It’s Not Just Too Many Priorities

Another common issue I see when working with business owners, managers and leadership teams is not just too many priorities, but also shifting priorities.

When leaders are constantly changing direction priorities become unclear, staff become frustrated and, again performance suffers. Leaders can mitigate this common issue by focusing on a limited number of clearly defined priorities, then sticking to them.

In the book, The Four Disciplines of Execution, the authors, Covey, McChesney, and Huling explain the following:

  • With 2-3 priorities, you’ll likely achieve them all with excellence
  • With 4-10 priorities, you will likely achieve only 1-2 with excellence
  • With 10 or more priorities, you will be unlikely to achieve any with excellence

When it comes to priorities, less is more.

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Focus on “The One Thing”

In Gary Keller’s book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Keller encourages leaders to identify “the one thing” that will lead them to their goals. You’re probably thinking to yourself there is more than just one thing you need to focus on! With too many priorities you wind up with a million strong starts, but hardly anything reaches the finish line.

Wouldn’t it be better to execute on two initiatives than start a dozen that never get implemented?

If just one priority seems unrealistic now, start with 2-3 priorities.

Here’s how you can identify the most critical issues facing your team, so you can channel all your efforts into the greatest return:

  1. Clearly define the outcome, goal or vision for your business. The more specific, the better.
  2. Brainstorm a list of strategies that can help you achieve this goal. Remember, this is just a starting point of ideas; you won’t be able to execute them all to excellence.
  3. Select just one strategy that will bring the greatest return.
  4. Define 3-5 actions you must take or obstacles you must overcome, in order to accomplish your goal.
  5. Identify the first 1-2 steps necessary per action. Now you’re creating a roadmap or an action plan to get started.

Revisit Your Priorities Often

The key to achieving your goal is consistencyRegular Team Development Retreats or Quarterly Offsites are the ideal opportunity to revisit priorities, refocus on the future and monitor progress. In just one session you can get your team aligned around a vision, strategy and action plan for achieving goals.

Do you want to do something that will really make a difference?

Schedule a 15-minute conversation to design your Team Development Retreat or Quarterly Offsite.

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