Each one of us have priorities and goals. They drive what we do and why. We may not realize we do, but they exist. What are the differences, why are they important, and how are they related?
Our priorities are what is most important to us, and we (must) follow them. They are a guide – more of a strict set of rules, if you will. Priorities are just that, priorities. They should be set in a clear order. Our first priority is just that, number one in our lives. Then move on down the line. If we place something in front of our priorities, any of them, then they do not align with who we are – or our priorities are not truly a priority.
I, like most of us, struggle in this area. This is partly why I am posting this. You see, I have a list of priorities and goals (listed at the end of this article), and I strive to achieve my goals regularly. But, sometimes (often?) I re-align my priorities or goals to meet some other objective. This, then, shows me my priorities are not in the right order – so they are not really a priority.
Priorities are our focus points that ensure we are working purposefully live our lives and achieve our goals. There is a saying that if it isn’t a complete and solid yes, then it must be a whole-hearted no. Why? If you cannot completely agree to do it, if it does not align with your priorities, then you must not entertain it, as this will mess with your priorities, your goals, and ultimately your life. You, your family, your business – your life – will ultimately suffer as a result. With that, if you are married or in a relationship, make sure you and your significant other are on the same page with your priorities and goals. If you are not in sync, your relationship will inevitably fail.
Our goals are what we strive to achieve. Goals may be personal (what we want for ourselves), professional (what we want to accomplish in our careers, businesses, etc. – both for us and our organizations), or family and friend focused (what we would like to do for others). This is not an all-inclusive list, but should get the idea across – our goals are something to attain.
Many businesses or non-profits have missions, visions, and goals, and so do individuals. Most of us have personal or family-focused goals like becoming financially independent, have a healthy marriage, raise successful and happy children, and so on. Some of these we may not even realize they are goals. Just think of what you want to possess, be, achieve… these are your goals. The question you – we – must ask is, are they important and do they align with our priorities.
How are goals and priorities connected?
First, define your priorities. What is most important in your life? List them. I have identified my five priorities, but you can have more or less. The idea here is to understand who you are, what you believe, and hold yourself accountable to them.
Second, identify your goals. These can be life goals, 5-year goals, family goals… whatever goal(s) you want to set. But they need to be something that will take time and effort to achieve. If they can be completed in a few days, weeks, or even months, chances are they are more of a to-do list item. These can change over time, as you accomplish them, as life changes, as you get older, etc. The point is, they should be something you strive and work for over a long period of time.
Last, a story. I used to play Monopoly with my family (oh-so seldom). My wife calls the game the “family fighting game”. Why? Because at some point, someone gains the upper-hand, owns the right properties, and leverages this against another. Sure, this is the point, but a fight ensues. Then, we change the rules (or we just didn't follow them to begin with). We start negotiating to gain or trade properties. But, we certainly didn't do it fairly. Instead of mortgaging the hotels, houses, then the properties, we began selling them just to stay in the game and hope we land on the right spot – but usually the person buying them would give some outrageous price and just own the board. Or, for example, we would agree that if my son owned a property, and gave my daughter “X” amount of monopoly money, that he would not have to pay her the landing-fees for 5 turns around the board. Thus, she could never increase her Monopoly cash stash. In the end, she loses (or I do, because that’s just how it works), and the fight begins – or continues.
They point to this story is to act in an ethical and moral manner. Following your priorities to achieve your goal is no simple task. Taking shortcuts may seem like the easy route, but it will eventually lead to devastation and destruction. We must keep our priorities in line as we strive to reach our goals, in an ethical and moral manner. Otherwise, what is the point.
Below are my priorities and goals. Feel free to use them as a guide. Another suggestion I heard on a podcast recently (sorry, I don’t recall which podcast), was to create a page on your website, visible to only those that have the URL, and save it as your browser home page. That way, anytime you open a new web page, you see your priorities and goals. Here is my oh so “secret” priorities and goals page - Jared's Priorities and Goals. You can also create a screen saver, background, printed copy hung next to your computer… whatever it takes to remind and keep you focused on them both.
What’s the point? This acts a constant reminder to you, of what your priorities and goals are. Does what you are about to search for or do on the internet align with your priorities and contribute to the achievement of your goals? If not, then why are you there?
Ultimately, your priorities and goals should complement each other, not take away from one or another. They should work in a symbiotic relationship towards meeting your goals while keeping in line with your priorities.
A little bit more about your priorities and goals.
My priorities and goals
Until next time…
This was originally posted on our blog about a year ago. I am generally not a fan of recycling posts, but as you know, repetition is the key to learning and some issues are worth addressing again. I recently attended a class and an area of contention was the differences and importance of efficiency and effectiveness. So, in response to that discussion, here I address and discuss the differences. Enjoy.
Many of us have said something like, “I am an efficient and effective leader, capable of leading teams to extraordinary achievements…” For some, these are just buzzwords used in an attempt to sound intelligent but often come across as, well, something else. For others, these “buzzwords” are true definitions of who they are and how they lead, but they cannot explain what it truly means. What does it mean to be an efficient leader? What does it mean to be an effective leader?
Efficiency and effectiveness are often used synonymously but are in reality a bit different. Efficiency can be attributed to the time or rate which something is accomplished, whereas, effectiveness is the accuracy or quality of the accomplishment. Which is more important?
(Added content to increase understanding). If you were planning to climb a mountain within 7 days, you would find the right people to guide the way, pack the right equipment, ensure your team were physical fit, and plan your path to the top. You then set out on your journey and make it to the top in 5 days – that is 2 days ahead of schedule! This is efficiency. However, you realize you climbed the wrong mountain! Climbing the right mountain is effectiveness.
Here is an example to illustrate the difference between the two.
It is appraisal time, you have 8 team members to evaluate, and you only have 8 hours to do them all, among your other tasks. So, you spend an hour developing a quality appraisal and you copy and paste your information into each of the remaining 7 appraisals. You are able to deliver all 8 appraisals, including your face-to-face discussions, in less than 5 hours. Each team member receives an appraisal, and you have 3 extra hours to do what you want. This is efficiency.
Alternatively, you spend more time developing an honest appraisal for each team member and deliver the face-to-face discussion, all in 8 hours. You conduct your appraisals in this way as each team member performed a different function, had different goals and tasks, and performed to a higher or lesser degree of quality. Each team member understands his or her successes and areas to improve for next year, thus, a more accurate assessment. This is effectiveness.
Which appraisal method is better? Is it more important to be efficient or effective in this case? In reality, as the leader, you should be constantly evaluating your team and the final appraisal should be a relatively easy wrap-up, but that is a topic for another day.
A leader that accomplishes a task quickly is efficient. A leader that accomplishes a task accurately is effective. A leader that can do both is efficient and effective. Are you an efficient and effective leader, capable of leading teams to extraordinary achievements?
Next week I will add to this discussion by addressing expectations and quality as they affect what is perceived as efficient and effective.
Until next time.
The mountain climbing example was originally used here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140730001606-37049081-effective-vs-efficient
Last week I brought up the difference between knowledge and wisdom. I could go into depth to explain the differences between the two, but I believe the themes and quotes in this article present the differences quite well – better than I could. A little disclosure here. These themes and quotes were presented by Dr. Alan Kluge, George Fox University, on June 8, 2017. I found this knowledge to be quite valuable and too good not to share. Knowledge gained and shared when appropriate, is wisdom.
If you like what you read here, or have additional quotes, themes, or other comments, please post them below or send us an email. I look forward to your responses.
Until next week,
Sayings on wisdom
Leon F Selzer, (2012). The wisest quotes on wisdom. Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201204/the-wisest-quotes-wisdom
There is a saying that says to “do less better”. The premise is to simply do less of something, but do it very well. Why is that? No matter what we do, we only have 24 hours in a day (1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds if you were wondering). Limiting our efforts to a few things focuses our time and energy into fewer things, becoming better at them as a result.
This is similar to Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” rule. Of course, it really depends on the domain and the individual – some require less time while others require more. While it may not take 10,000 hours to become a master at certain subjects, the premise of investing deliberate time holds true. For example, if I wanted to learn to play the piano, I would learn faster (fewer days) by practicing for 3 hours each day than for 30 minutes each day. I will still need to practice about the same number of hours in total, but over a condensed period of time. Being deliberate requires focused attention on the endeavor, whatever it is.
In a business context, this means limiting the number or variety of products or service offerings, and focus on a few key elements that will make the business stand out. By doing so, the business is able (or more likely) to become a market force in a particular niche. By offering fewer products or services, businesses are able to focus their energy on market research, improving the product or service, or engaging with their customer.
This doesn’t mean businesses cannot diversify their offerings. Take Amazon for example. If it is for sale (legally), you can pretty much buy it on Amazon. What does Amazon sell though – logistics. Amazon offers millions of products online, but sells its logistics genius – arguably one significant service applied to millions of products. Most people can order a product and have it delivered in just a few days. Depending on where you live, some major metropolitan cities deliver within an hour – an hour! – after purchasing the product online. Amazon focused its efforts on delivering superiority.
It really takes leadership support to operate in this way. Too often leaders see “doing less” as a weakness. The reality is, doing less allows the organization (or individual) to become an expert –the best – and provide superior products and service. I have seen and been on both sides of the spectrum – some organizations embrace this concept and others say they do but really do not. The only way to truly experience the benefits of the “do less better” mentality, is to spend time and energy on less, but do them very well.
What about the rest of your life? Do you have kids, are you in school, do you have a hobby you just have to participate in? Where you spend your time, dictates where your priorities are. Make sure you intentionally spend your time right.
How will you implement this moving forward? Let us know by sending us an email or contacting us here.
What do you do when your supervisor insists on doing more (better) but does not give you enough time or resources (money, people, etc.) to accomplish the task? Selective disobedience is the answer and will be discussed next week.
Last week I discussed the transition from employee and peer to small group leader. As time goes on, another promotion may be in order for any number of reasons – organizational growth, retirement, and so on. Some organizations promote their employees but take them to other departments to lead new teams. This requires the leader and team to work to develop as a cohesive element, build comradery, striving towards success as the newly found team.
Many organizations will promote from within, taking someone from within the team and making them in charge of the whole team. The once peer, now leader, is about to take on another journey – leading other leaders. What does this look like? How does the new leader successfully lead this team, consisting of subordinate leaders and employees?
As with last week, there are a number of ways to do so. Here are a few tips to help make the transition smoother and more successful.
What other tips and tactics would you provide? What else would you like to see us write about? Share with us here.
Until next time.