Santa’s Leadership Lesson #20 – Priority Setting

Five days left to Christmas, and some clever use of systems and processes ensures Santa is aware that certain areas of the operation need attention, but which area should he sort out first?

Everyone has more to do than they can get done…even Santa; organisations always have more opportunities than they do resources, but leaders who are skilled in priority setting ensure their time and the time of others is spent on what is most important.

In the last throws of present production, wrapping and preparing the presents for delivery, Santa ensures his teams are using the systems and processes we discussed yesterday to keep track on the critical elements of the Christmas programme. He is ready to assist in eliminating road blocks that could slow up the key elements of the project. He seems to be able to quickly sense what will help and what will hinder the overall achievement of the goal, but how?

We have a couple of points we can learn from the man in the red suit on this one;

-          Firstly, there is the time management matrix that the late great Stephen Covey distilled for us. Covey gave us a simple grid where you rate each task as high or low on importance and urgency and encouraged us to not only attend to the important and urgent subjects, but also those that are important and not yet urgent – a great reminder of where we should focus our attention.

-          Secondly, Santa makes sure he does not get addicted to action, he takes a little time to plan and understand how each of the actions are linked to the overall goal – a simple tactic that is all too easily forgotten when the time pressures really hit.

So whilst the Reindeer are busy ‘Dashing’ and ‘Prancing’ to ensure the sleigh is loaded in good time, Santa is busy ensuring the maintenance elves are keeping the wrapping machines going and working out what present junior is not going to miss!

Posted in Blog, Leadership

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