Discover how starting new tasks is all about competing priorities and deciding what tasks to stop. Also, learn how sacrifice is always required when it comes to competing values.
- I have taught, coached and led hundreds of people who want to make a difference in this world and one of the most important things I've learned from helping them is that when your values compete, it's hard to sort out your priorities, both at work and at home. An example of competing values would be the desire to focus on the business rather than in it, but not having people to whom you can delegate the day-to-day operational aspects. Most people spend most of their time on urgent items which are almost always tactical instead of investing in the not urgent, strategic priorities that will actually grow the organization. When values are prioritized, then it's easy to decide where to invest your time rather than spend it. If your priorities were truly oriented around your values, what would that look like? The best place to start is to turn the last week or month of your work calendar into a pie chart by category. For example, take everything in your calendar and group the time spent under the following buckets. Administrative, like email, meetings, one-on-one people development, interaction with clients, vision and strategy, execution and operations. You get the idea. What percentage of your time is spent in each category as they'll add up to 100%? How does that compare to where you would like to spend your time and where you know the focus would be based on your values? For example, if you place a high value on people, that would correlate with one-on-one people development. And a high value on creating a world-class organization would align with vision and strategy. Are you spending enough time there or more on administrative and meetings, where you don't place a high value? If your values don't align with where you are investing your time, you must make the hard decisions regarding your calendar, which is something you certainly control and decide what you're not going to do. Some of the most effective executives and high performing companies I have worked with target 60% of their time to developing people and creating an environment where behaviors are reinforced that are consistent with the desired culture. Your goal may differ, but my guess is that you know the best way to grow your organization is by developing your people. The exercise of taking a hard look at your calendar against what you truly value is the best way I know to align your priorities with what you hold dear. I'll leave you with this: If your work were truly oriented around your values, what could you accomplish that seems almost insurmountable today? The only thing holding you back are old habits.