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Change is inevitable, growth is intentional. As your organization changes you want to continue to grow with it. How do you do that? Pay attention to how your priorities directly associate to your company’s strategy.

Our focus is getting things done, whether it’s helping customers, making sales, developing software, tending to paperwork, or cleaning up after, all of those things within our direct control. Usually, in a time of change, your executives always tell you “just keep doing what you’re doing”, but I don’t think that’s totally correct. Certainly don’t stop what you are doing or drop projects. In a time of change, what you have to do is continue your best efforts while beginning to rethink your priorities.

The dictionary defines a priority as ranking actions or items by their relative importance. We have our long to-do lists; the question is how we rank these activities? We have to rank them because when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.

Here is how your priorities intersect with the corporate strategy. When asked how you’ve managed your time and effort, your bosses are measuring by what’s important to them. How can you shift your priorities to sync up with those really important things your organization wants to accomplish?

Six Ways to Rethink Your Priorities

  1. Focus on Results you Control or Influence — Translate your corporate strategy and if you are lucky, it’s already been done for you. Don’t just read it, strip away the verbiage and translate your organization’s strategy into your own world. What you are looking for is results and how those results look in your world. Even more than what you directly control, what you can influence by your activities.
  2. Adapt and Adopt — Pay attention to what is being communicated about changes in the organization. Understanding those changes gives you a head start on how to adapt your own priorities. When you really embrace and adopt your modified set of priorities you can make a bigger difference, more quickly in your organization.
  3. Change Begins with Attitude, then Change the Processes — You may not be able to change everything, but you can change your attitude about how to deal with those changes. Attitudes are contagious – is yours worth catching?
  4. Build Alliances and Collaborate — As key objectives shift, so does how you work with others. Successfully delivering on your priorities depends on your ability to collaborate. Consider better ways to build or strengthen alliances with other teams and departments. Don’t wait for them to reach out to you.
  5. Indentify New Opportunities and be a Catalyst for Improvement — Hey, you are a knowledge worker – put that knowledge to work. Don’t “just keep doing what you’re doing”. You can extend or improve your processes and suggest new ways to better accomplish work. Get creative and apply that creativity and insight to drive improvements and innovation.
  6. Know What to Stop Doing  — What you stop doing is just as important a priority as what you continue or keep doing. Another reason to question “just keep doing what you are doing” is what needs to drop down or off your priority list? Rethinking priorities means resetting your agenda so that you gradually let go of some activities to give you bandwidth to increase attention on others.

Rethinking your priorities starts with understanding the current objectives of your company. Translate them into how delivering on those will look in your world. Improve on what is important and stop working on what’s not. Your reward when you have reset your priorities is very powerful. You can see how your effort directly affects the success of the company.

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  1. Sam Bayer
    When organizations get in trouble, it’s usually because they got disconnected from their customer.  If things are changing at work, don’t just focus on aligning yourself with what your “company’s priorities are”, align yourself with what their customer’s priorities are.  Otherwise you’re just shifting the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.  Which…by the way…in some cases, the best tactic is to get into the lifeboat 🙂
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    1. Bob McGlynn Post author
      Sam,
      Very good point. You are right that companies need to focus on their customers. Let’s hope that when you, as an employee, are looking for direction in setting your priorities, you company has articulated goals concerning customers.  

      Maybe we should add be a “voice of the customer”. To make sure that you provide input and feedback about your interactions with customers to help calibrate the company’s focus.

      Customers make paychecks possible, but it’s your company that is providing that paycheck. That is why it is important to understand the strategic changes of the organization. That “big picture” makes it easier to understand the direction, so everyone is working in concert to make that happen.

      Certainly, my company was started by some people who had ideas that were different than their company’s goals, so they went off and started their own company.

      As Scoop Nisker used to say, “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.” But whether you decide to start your own company or continue to work inside your present one, be a positive force for change and improvement.

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