Too Many Priorities

Today I had a conversation with an entrepreneur about their 2020 plans, which they’d clearly spent a lot of time thinking about. One thing jumped out at me. They have six objectives in the first quarter alone. A similar number of objectives were listed for each of the other three quarters. The plan was extremely aggressive, especially considering the considerable uncertainty that characterizes the economy at the moment.

Based on my experience, it’s hard to get a team to focus on more than two or three objectives in a short time (e.g., three months). When I spread myself or my team thin with too many priorities, it usually didn’t turn out well. Either nothing was completed or a fraction of our goals were reached, which still felt like a failure. Over time I learned to distill things down to the two or three most important things and focus on those areas. The trick for me was figuring out what the two or three things were that would move the needle.

If you’re starting 2021 with a long list of priorities (or none!), consider taking time to craft a list of the two or three things that will have the biggest impact.