Hey time-crunched business owner or marketers, how many priorities are you currently focusing on? 5? 10? 15? 20? More? 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 we have seen while 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 performance suffers. Leaders can mitigate this common issue by focusing on a limited number of clearly defined priorities, then sticking to them.
Consider this: In the book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution – #1 national bestseller, the authors, Covey, McChesney, and Huling in a Nutshell – YouTube, 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.
Here’s how you can identify the most critical issues plaguing your team, so you can channel all your efforts into the most substantial return:
Steps to get started creating a roadmap or an action plan.
- Clearly define the outcome, goal or vision for your business. The more specific, the better.
- 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 capable of executing them all to excellence.
- Select just one strategy that will bring the greatest return.
- Define 3-5 actions you must initiate or obstacles you must overcome, in order to accomplish your goal.
- Identify the first 1-2 steps necessary per action.
How to use this offer
What goal does it support?
Seems basic that every activity should support a business goal. But I bet you’ll be amazed to know how many “nice to have” or “seems cool to do” activities may be on your list and best practices have not been considered. By focusing first on the activities that are directly aligned to your business goals, priorities emerge and keep you on the road to success.
Assign each priority.
After all is said and done, I then assign the priority of the project or activity. It can be as simple as high-medium-low or a numerical system. Ideally, I tackle three to five things at a time and do them well. Once they’re up and running, I’ll move on to new tasks. Having a visual reminder helps me keep my priorities in order. I can then add new ideas and tasks as they come up to make sure that everything is in one spot. Think of High priority as meaning “The company will fail/die without this.” For example, if we were building an automobile, the only Priority 1 things would be the engine, tires, transmission, brakes, steering wheel, and pedals. Medium priority items would be the doors, windshield, air conditioning, and radio because you can get around without those things.
What else do we need to do first?
For example: Your goal may increase website traffic, however if you don’t have blog articles raring to go, then you need to start there. You may decide on a goal to convert visitors, however if you don’t have the content in place to entice someone, you need to start there.
What is the estimated time?
For tasks that take less effort to complete, it’s wiser to grapple with it early to get it off the list first.
What is the time commitment?
A lot of things these days are easy to set up (say a Twitter account or an email program.), but they take ongoing feed and care if you want to do them well. Be realistic about how much time the maintenance of any activity you start will take each week or month.
Who is directly responsible?
Of course, it’s always good to assign a lead person to each task, so they take full responsibility and accountability for the task or project assigned. This way there is rarely any confusion about who should be getting what done.
Do we need to get help?
For complex or difficult tasks with time constraints, you may want to consider outsourcing these jobs, and keep more important strategic priorities for your team to complete.
What will this cost?
Naturally, cost remains an important factor when making priorities. The costs associated with each marketing campaign should be identified. Types of costs to consider are staff salaries, office space, travel costs, printing, mailings, online advertising, website design, graphic design, and more.
Revisit Your Priorities Often. So what do you do to get your business selling? Which steps will bring you the best results fastest? What should be your first move? The key to achieving your goal is consistency. Staying on the path to success and not shifting your priorities will move you forward.