In Focus, Leaders

“The truth is, hardly any of us have ethical energy enough for more than one really inflexible point of honor.” – George Bernard Shaw

Whether you’re talking about honor or your business, it’s extremely easy in today’s world to let yourself get stretched thin. There are so many things flying at us that if we try to catch them all we run ourselves ragged. We just don’t have the energy (mental or physical) to take it all on.

The ability to prioritize your efforts is one of the most underrated and under-talked about qualities of a great leader. I think you could make an argument that there is nothing more important. It doesn’t matter how great you are in terms of various leadership skills. If you’re working on the wrong things, it’s all for naught.

So before you think about how to respond to a given crisis today, or how to attack a problem that’s arisen, or how to deal with a particular employee issue, STOP. Ask yourself:

What is my most important role in this organization? All of us do any number of different things in our businesses, but there are a lot of them that could be done by someone else with little or no impact. But there are a handful of things that have a big impact on success that can only be done by you. What are those things?

What is the most important challenge facing this organization? We all get paid to solve problems, or so we believe. But what problems? What things that, if left unaddressed, could severely damage your business? What things could have a negative, long term, strategic impact on your business, as opposed to the things that are just annoying?

What is the most important opportunity facing this organization? Most businesses have any number of potentially positive outcomes in front of them. Which ones have the chance to transform your business into what you’ve always wanted it to be? Which ones fit exactly into the vision you have for your business?

It doesn’t do any good to complete a bunch of tasks that don’t matter or that don’t advance your organization closer to your vision. We have to guard our energy carefully. Make sure you’re working on stuff that counts.

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