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Are they really clear about your priorities?

I was working with the CEO of a large Australian organization and her EA. I decided to pose a straightforward question to the CEO: “Do you believe the people around you, especially Olivia, are crystal clear on your top priorities?” The CEO confidently replied, “Yes, I’m pretty sure they are.”

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. I turned to Olivia and asked, “Olivia, are you clear on your manager’s priorities?” Her response wasn’t as assured. It was a hesitant “Yes.”

Bonjour, in this video, I want to introduce a simple yet powerful practice that can elevate how you and the people you work with collaborate and get things done more efficiently. 

In my experience, there’s often a glaring disconnect. Leaders assume that their team understands their priorities, but the reality can be quite different. If you were to ask various team members about their leader’s priorities, you’d often get responses like, “I’m not really sure” or a lengthy list of tasks. Why is this disconnect so crucial to address? Well, let’s break it down. 

If you have an Executive Assistant (EA), he or she plays a pivotal role in managing your time, calendar, and a multitude of projects. If they aren’t absolutely clear on your top priorities, how can they support you effectively? It’s a recipe for inefficiency.

Now, let’s zoom out a bit. Do you have a team or just a group of individuals occupying the same space? A true team is a group with a shared focus and priorities. Does everyone in your team understand each other’s priorities? 

Here’s a simple exercise with four steps to bridge these gaps: Name, Clarity, Impact, and Time.

·        Name: Begin by giving a simple name to your priority. Keep it concise.

·        Clarity: In a few bullet points, explain what you mean by this priority.

·        Impact: Describe the impact this priority will have on performance, the business, and others.

·        Time: Indicate the amount of time you intend to invest in this priority per week. 

Remember, simplicity is key. It’s suggested to have just two or three priorities. If everything is important, nothing truly is. 

Write this down and share with your team. Even better, ask everyone to do the same and organize a meeting to share and discuss. You will be amazed by the result.

By doing this exercise for each of your priorities, you’re not only clarifying things for yourself but also for those around you. Share and discuss these priorities openly. Explain what they mean, why they matter, the impact they carry, and the time they’ll consume. 

I had the pleasure of doing this exercise with many people including Olivia and her leader, and it proved incredibly valuable. Olivia gained a clear understanding of her leader’s priorities, how they impacted her time, and this opened doors to more productive discussions. 

So, let me ask you this: Are the key people around you genuinely clear about your priorities? 

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip. 

Wishing you a lovely day ahead! 

A bientôt,

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