Dear Dr. Jim,
Our company has competing priorities. How do I prioritize priorities? Do you have any suggestions? What are your top tips for a leader/manager?
First of all, all companies have competing priorities. HR priorities may be different than the CFO’s priorities, versus Marketing’s priorities, versus the CEO’s priorities. That’s number one.
So the job of more senior management is to be clear on what the overall company priories are. And then within those priories (lets say finance, HR, Marketing, and Sales), they establish their priorities, and then there’s a conversation about how, and do all of those fit within the larger company priorities. Because unless that’s clear and open to conversation with everybody—recognizing that different people have different agendas—there’s likely to be confusion.
So the key is that the most senior people must help define and clarify the priorities for everybody else.
This is the basic principle for determining this:
- There is an “i” in team (or company)—so that each person puts their best foot forward. And in this case, with priorities, they would best define their priorities as it fit the organization’s priorities.
- And then there’s a “we”—where the different groups or teams have their priorities, but are in line with the company priorities.
- And there’s the “us”—which is the larger organization. And, as always, senior management must set the guidelines for those priorities.
Absolutely crucial for a company to be competitive in the marketplace is to be clear on their priorities, because if the priorities aren’t clear through the organization, we’re losing money, we’re losing time, we’re losing energy.
I hope that helps!
– Dr. Jim