Are you or your team constantly chasing your tail when it comes to ticking off your to-do list and getting meaningful work done?
This ‘time-sucking black hole’ is common in business, and it’s hard to get out of the constant spiral if you don’t have the tools and processes in place to get out.
Often, this is blamed on poor time management, but the issue is really priority management.
I read a great quote from author and business advisor Charlie Gilkey, which sums it up perfectly…
“Teams and organisations have the same problem — as a unit, there are only so many priorities that a given group of people can address in a given slice of time. One of the chief jobs of the leaders is to ensure that people are addressing the most important priorities in any given slice of time.”
Gilkey suggests five things you can do to reframe your thinking and give better direction to your team:
- 1. What matters right now? Priorities evolve over time, so it’s important to focus on what your priorities are now, not what they were before Christmas.
- 2. What actions can we take now that most reflect my priorities?
- 3. What are the priorities of the people around me and do they align with my priorities?
- 4. What is taking up my attention that doesn’t reflect my priorities and how can I change this?
- 5. Who can I talk to about my priorities to receive the support I need to take action?
Once you’ve answered these questions and can clearly define your priorities and the steps you need to take to make them occur, you are able to communicate these with your team.
By communicating your priorities clearly and proactively with your team, they will have a clear idea of the pathway you wish to take to achieve business outcomes.
But it doesn’t stop there. You need to set clear goals and provide ongoing feedback.
Your employees will be more motivated, and therefore more productive, if they know what role they play in achieving business outcomes.
Both short and long-term goals are important, and it’s key that you provide feedback along the journey as to how your team are meeting those targets.
Accomplishments need to be acknowledged and failures addressed so you can steer your employees in the right direction.
Focus on the accomplishments, rather than the task – it’s a mindset thing. Recognition encourages positivity and a sense of purpose.
It’s also important when addressing failures or providing strategic feedback, that you do it in real time. Don’t wait until a week later to bring it up.
This way management becomes transparent and objective, and issues don’t snowball into major problems.
It will also help keep your team on track if you can continually direct them back towards your priorities, rather than processes.
In summary, ensuring that you and your team are productive and are doing meaningful work comes down to two things: defining and communicating your priorities, and setting goals and providing ongoing, real time feedback.
At MWM Advisory, we place a huge importance on team training and engage all our team members in key planning meetings throughout the year.
Not only does this ensure that all team members ‘buy in’ to our vision and goals, it gives each team member clear direction as to how to proceed in their roles.
We put the right person in each role and ensure they understand exactly what we’re aiming to achieve.
Each person knows exactly what they need to do to achieve our business outcomes. We have the right people, in the right place, doing the right job – ensuring productivity is always at the top of the agenda.