How do we boil things down to their essence and focus on what matters most?
The symptomology includes things like: “We are so busy with day to day activities, we don’t have time to communicate effectively”, or “We never seem to have enough people to get the work done timely, and “How did we let a whole year go by without completing or at least making a dent in our biggest projects?”
Leaders of all levels and from all industries struggle with this from time to time. The answer almost always has to do with the choices they made and when they made them.
When we are up against it, in good economic times or challenging ones, we can make three choices:
A) We can work faster with the resources we have.
B) We can delegate some of the ‘overload’ to another.
C) We accept that some things are not going to happen as planned.
I recently had the pleasure of working with a very busy technology team who was stuck and led them through an exercise to bring clarity and manageability. It had to do with boiling things down to three variables.
Exposure, Capacity & Priority
1) Exposure – Where are we exposed? It could be financial, legal, regulatory, ethical, quality etc.
2) Capacity – Given our current state, do we realistically have the resources to pull it off? If not, which capabilities to we need develop?
3) Priority - What goes first and what happens if we don’t do this?
This simple framework galvanized their thought process without getting to far into the weeds and helped to crystallize deliverables. So, for those instances when you feel ‘stuck’, it might prove very helpful to focus on these three things. They will generate more dialog about how to go about your business and chances are you will be going about the right business.