Leadership Priorities for Success

Stack of sticky notes with a meeting reminder.

True confession…Leadership is hard work.

In my networking with leaders from the business world and the non-profit world the fact of how hard leading can be on someone is one common story we all agree on. There are decisions we each need to make that vary from important matters to urgent matters. The varying noise that can come from each of these can make it hard at times to decide which decisions need action now or later. With each of our decisions we can often times drift from being and doing what we should be and what we should be doing into a mess of other things.

Here are some actions that I use to stay in tune with my leadership priorities.

#1: Pareto Principle. Those closest to me know and have heard me talk about the Pareto principle. This was a principle that once it was taught to me years ago it made a huge impact into my life. Basically this principle says that 80% of the value I give lies within 20% of what I do and my true values. For example, if you have a To Do List with 10 items ranked in order of importance with 1 being the most important and 10 being the least important, items 1 and 2 would contain 80% of the value of the priorities you plan to do. Know your 20%!

#2 Execution clarity. When I find my top 20%, I’m relentless in my pursuit of them, these are the truly important issues for me. Of course, the urgent will continue to emerge. When the urgent comes, I will quickly deal with these matters by asking: “Does this situation fall in my 20%? If not, do I have someone who is better suited for this (whenever my answer to this is “no” I make note of this as an area that I need to train people)? Or am I the best or only one who can deal with it? Once I answer this and execute then I return to the relentless pursuit of my top 20%.

#3 Task Management. I can’t manage time but I can manage my task that happen within the time I have. How often have you said something like this, “I just can’t seem to make time to do this” or “I’ll have to make time to do this?” No one can make time. Time is a gift from God and the management of our task within that time is our gift back to God.

#4 Reflective clarity. I have decided what my priorities are, I am clear on my execution for my 20%, and I realize that Time is a gift from God and that the task I carry out and manage within that time is my gift back. Now the last action in this process for me is to always ask myself “what have I learned in the process?” I set up a time and place to always ask myself, “What happened as I created clarity in my life?” “Why did it happen?” “What does this mean for using my next gift of 24 hours?”

Repeat all the above to keep up your leadership focus.

What are some steps you take to keep from drifting and stay focused in your leadership journey? Please share I would enjoy hearing them.

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