Chess - Aligning your prioritiesThere Just Is Not Enough Time in the Day

We are skilled leaders and problem solvers but there is a limit to human bandwidth. What we can get done is largely a function of where are skills are strong versus tasks that we need to deal with. Nobody excels at everything so the challenge is to determine what we should do versus what we should delegate to someone else that may do a better job. Through prioritizing your tasks to your strengths, your day can be better managed.

Use A SWOT Analysis on Yourself

Likely you have heard of SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Few of us have ever applied them to our own management or leadership skills, but why not? Through this process it is possible for you to discover the best return on your time and where you should focus your efforts most effectively. The result is higher performance and less frustration.

Making a Four Column List

A tool for you to visualize the SWOT process is a four column list on a sheet of paper (or a computer screen). The headings for these columns are: What am I good at, What do I like doing, What I am not good at, What do I dislike doing. It will likely take you some time and multiple iterations before you feel you have gotten to your best answers. Next, look for cause and effect between what you like doing and what you feel you are good at. This should help you define your strengths and there is likely a strong correlation between what you do well and what you like doing. Next, use the same process on what you are not good at and what you dislike doing. Now you are getting a picture of your strengths and weaknesses. You are not done yet and it is time to look at the company opportunities and threats.

Analyzing Company Opportunities and Threats

Where the previous process was self-directed, this process may require input from your management team or others. Make another four column sheet with column headings as: Company opportunities, Company strengths, Company Threats, and Company Weaknesses. Follow the process as you did before and line up the opportunities/strengths and the threats/weaknesses. Once again it is likely to take several iterations and it is possible that some weaknesses may make you doubt some of the opportunities. A separate exercise would be to address those company weaknesses but this process will help you prioritize company weaknesses.

Matching You to the Company Priorities

Next steps are to place your personal sheet next to the company sheet in front of you for a visual tool. This visual tool is to help you think through where you should focus your efforts for the most impact, where to delegate to stronger resources, where you should focus your team for improved business results and where you need to strengthen company resources. Once again this is not an easy process that is completed in one shot and likely will require considerable thought through multiple iterations.

The End Results

The end result of this process is three fold: first you have a better idea of how to be more effective and less stressed. Secondly you have updated tactical priorities for managing daily processes. Lastly you have likely better focused your team on strategies and priorities. In the end you may become more successful in your business and happier in your role within the business.

For additional insights, questions, comments and help on this or any area of concern for your business contact Dave Johnson, C Squared Managing Partner, 303-417-6353.