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Management’s key job is to set clear priorities.  Without clear priorities, folks keep switching focus from task to task and nothing gets done.

So, one of the first things we’ll want to do together is set some clear priorities. To tell the team: “here’s what comes next.”

When you do this, four things can happen.

  1. It gets done. This is the best possible outcome. And it does happen. It tells you that the issue isn’t technical skills, it’s proper management.
  2. Folks try – but have questions. This is also a good outcome. If you say here’s the priority. And it doesn’t get done. But you get questions. You have a next step. You have to help the team get questions answered.
  3. The team ignores the priority.
    You, the executive, told the team that this was the priority.
    But then Sheila from HR or Joe from Accounting asked for “one small favor”. Or Tom called. And we all know how Tom is.
    Whatever the reason, the team didn’t keep focused.
    You’re getting a strong signal here.
    You set a clear priority. And they ignored it. Again, we don’t want to rush to judgment. So, we can go back to the team. And those who interrupted. And explain that we are setting priorities. And try again.
    The bad news:  your team may LIKE chaos.
    The good news: You know where to focus next.
  4. The work doesn’t get done.
    Nothing else got in the way.
    No one else called.
    The requirement didn’t change.
    But the work still didn’t get done.
    The bad news: You may have a skills problem.
    The good news: You know where to focus next.

In future posts, we’ll talk about what to do next.

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