Prioritize Your Priorities

If I had a dollar for every time I heard people ask for clarification around priorities I would have enough money to retire and not have to hear about priorities. It is so important, no matter what your job, what company you work for or how long you've been with a company, everyone has to deal with prioritizing their work. It always sounds so easy, whatever is most important do that first. The problem is deciding what is most important is usually a strategic decision, you have to say A is more important than B. That gets really hard when B has value, and you really want it too. Wouldn't it be nice to have our cake and eat it too? You have to decide. Companies that are great are simply better at prioritizing. Finding the things that seem so important and coming to terms with the fact that they simply aren't as important as we make them out to be and making them a lower priority.

Take it a step further, what happens when two different people/teams/departments/divisions have their priorities but they need each other to complete tasks on their list? Conflict. Everyone has their top priority, which isn't someone else's, so everything kind of moves forward but nothing seems to ever get done. Everyone is doing a lot of work and helping each other out, but if at the end of the day you don't ship/complete/close you don't have anything.

The most important thing you can do, seek out clarity of priorities. Make sure your priorities are aligned with your team priorities, which are aligned with the department priorities, etc. up to the top of your organization. If you don't know what the priorities are at the top, ask. If they don't know or say all of it is important, be worried. If everything is important nothing is. If everything is priority 1 then that means everything is also the lowest priority, which is probably why leaders are also frustrated things aren't getting done.


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