Priorities: The One Priority of Leadership
A priority gives direction. Without a priority, leaders squander resources, frustrate people, and live in alarm mode.
One website lists 40 leadership priorities. A person with 40 priorities is an exhausted chipmunk with its tail on fire.
You can’t do anything important when you have 40 priorities.
Life was simple when priority meant the first thing. With that definition, your first meeting of the day is your priority. There can only be one first. We define priority as anything important or urgent today.
Life is out of control because you have many ‘most important’ things. The problem is definition. You have many urgencies. You have a long list of to-dos. You can’t have many priorities.
Circumstances control people who don’t have a priority.
A person without a priority is a frantic chipmunk in a blizzard of sunflower seeds.
- Is more worthy than other things.
- Is done first. (If not in order of time in order of importance.)
- Receives your best energy. You don’t tag a priority to the end of the day.
Symptoms you have too many priorities:
- You can’t remember the last day you were at your best.
- Exhaustion is the norm.
- You do lots of work, but you never work on the way you work.
The one priority of leadership:
An unfertilized garden is unfruitful. The leader’s priority is self-care that enables and expands service. If you’re going to die in the next few days, smoke all the cigarettes you want. But if you plan to serve in the future make self-care your priority.
Questions about your priority:
- What self-care plans do you have today? Education? Self-reflection? Coaching? Rest? Diet? Exercise?
- What’s systems for self-care have you implemented? (Try 50 minute meetings.)
- What resources are you dedicating to self-care? Invest in things that are important.
A one priority life requires belief in your future.
A Leader Without Priorities is a Chipmunk on Steroids
The Ability to Say NO is the Power to do What Matters
Get a Grip on Your Schedule when Work is Out of Control
Stop Chasing Too Many Priorities
Honestly, I can’t stress how important mindfulness practices are to my leadership journey. This plus routines, exercise and music. Yes, lots of music. Thank you for the reminder to care for ourselves as we care for others. Un abrazo mis amigos.
Dan having watched chipmunks over the years, their main priority is food gathering and storage. They are very focused. People in business can learn a lot from our animal friends!
Gathering and storage is his unique priority!
Hello Dan. It has been a while since reading and commenting on your posts. It is good to be back and engaged in the discussions.
When we engage with clients in crisis, we begin by UNDERSTANDING and then move on to STABILIZATION. Part of that stabilization is getting leadership to focus on “the critical few.” Much of the time the client’s priorities have gotten out of balance, leading to a “death spiral” to which they cannot see a path of recovery. It is through stepping back (UNDERSTANDING) and setting priorities that the STABILIZATION of the business can begin.
Thanks for your post.
Welcome back. Your insights and experience matter. It seems a person lost in the weeds can’t focus on what matters most. In all our doing, it’s a good idea to focus on doing things that matter.