Learn why "standards" is the preferred vernacular over "my expectations" when it comes to shaping a culture by design.
- Consider that up until the 1940s, the plural form of the word priority was almost never used. Only during the 20th century did priorities gain in common use. Scholars believe this has a lot to do with the Industrial Revolution. The thought that there can only be one priority has fallen by the wayside, along with our ability to focus at work and balance at home. Communicating priorities throughout the organization starts with your ability to focus. Then it's about your ability to be clear when communicating. Before you get started communicating priorities, you have to spend a lot of time stepping back from the operational fires of the day, sitting down, and writing out your priorities. Just write them down, and include why these priorities are important. Decide what the organization will not focus on. As the organizational leader, communicating priorities is all about knowing two questions: what business are we in, and what business are we not in. This is the crux of ensuring expectations are clearly understood, and work is carried out. Have regular conversations to identify all the non essential practices at play. Chances are the things that matter most are the least pressing, but will matter longest. It's been said that strategy is setting priorities, and priorities are what remain after you ruthlessly cut. Next, communicate the priorities so they are perfectly understood. Clarity can never be assumed, and to ensure your direction is understood, creatively repeat the standards for performance in simple terms, with a focus on what is actually being measured. This is essential for moving the organization forward. The challenge is to communicate both the big picture, vision, strategy, balanced with the day to day operation execution. This involves making adaptability a core value. Leading the organization is about creating an environment where people can pivot based on the realities of the market, the availability of new technology, and the gathering of new insights. When you communicate the organization's priorities, you'll find that individual ownership, team accountability, and organizational alignment all reflect your intention as evidence by a team that is truly on the same page.