Career Management

Do you regard yourself as a wizard when it comes to knowing how to prioritise?

In my experience, most of us are somewhere between okay and pretty awful when it comes to really understanding how to do it.

It tends to be a mixture of crisis management and those things that fall into the category of “things I like to do” – mot a great criteria!

So, what lessons on how to prioritise can we learn from the top performing CEOs that I have worked with?

Top CEOs ask themselves these 5 questions:

  1. Is this on my dashboard of 5/6 key drivers of the business? (Will explain this later!)
  2. Do I add value to this task?
  3. Am I the one who should be dealing with it?
  4. Is now the right time to deal with it?
  5. Have I all the information I need to deal with it?

If the answer is “No” to any one of those questions then it never gets on their priority list.

So, let’s dig a bit deeper:

  • Dashboard of 5/6 key drivers. In any business, no matter how large or small there are no more than 5/6 key drivers, which, if you stay on top of, will determine the success of your business. Top CEOs are really good at this. They cannot focus on everything – they just focus on what matters.
  • Do they add value? If they cannot see how they will add value – value that no one else will bring, then they will not engage. This also ties in to the next point.
  • Should I be dealing with it? High performers are really good at recognizing whether they are the right person to deal with this issue, or is it somebody else’s job? This also stops the inclination to get involved in your “pet” areas! A real danger to you – and your people!
  • Is this the right time? In other words – is it the best use of my time right now? Am I running my own agenda or am I responding to someone else’s? Should this issue be dealt with now, or leave till later? Really important questions to answer!
  • Have I all the information I need? There is little point in starting out to complete a piece of work if you know you do not have all the information to hand to fully deal with it. You will not be able to complete, so unless there is a compelling reason to start now, it is best to leave until all the information is to hand.

By continuously asking these 5 questions top CEOs have demonstrated great skill on how to prioritise and what they should be focused on.

So, test yourself with these 5 questions and I can guarantee you it will help you to learn how to prioritise.

I have worked with many clients to help them identify those 5 or 6 key dashboard items and then how to integrate them into their daily schedule.

Being clear about these items reduces stress, prevents you from being overwhelmed and keeps you focused on what matters most.

I would love to hear the items on your dashboard. More interestingly, do they drive what you do on a daily basis?


About John Murphy

John Murphy is founder of JohnMurphyInternational, a specialist online coaching business. John specializes in advising and mentoring entrepreneurs and senior executives on how to build their business and be effective as a leader and manager. Get helpful information and tips from John by clicking HERE.

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