The First Discipline of Execution

12-10-2017 08:00 by Ian Kinnery

The first discipline that is necessary for excellent execution we call ‘priorities’.

Every business faces the same challenge. There is always too much to do and too little time to do it in. As the numbers of people in a business grows, it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep everyone on the same page and focussing on the same thing. Individually we will all have our own tasks, our own preferences and our own interpretation of what is important. The natural consequence of this is that very quickly businesses and organisations become fractured as people start following their own agendas and setting their own priorities.

If you imagine a rowing eight for example where some of the crew have decided that the game plan is to gradually build the speed over the course of the race whilst some of the crew have decided that the game plan is going to be to smash it for the first 500 metres and then cruise the rest, while one or two of the crew have decided to save themselves for next week’s race, they will hardly prove to be the most united, committed and effective crew on the water.

So it is, all too often, in business. Often, even in a micro business, no one has thought about what the priority is or should be. If the priority isn’t known it is impossible to make sure that everyone shares the same priority.

Let me just say that the word priority means the number one thing. There can only ever be one priority. ‘Priorities’ is a one word oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.

So what is the number one thing, in your business, in the next 90 days? If you were to ask that of some or all of your team members how many answers do you think you would get? How many different answers do you think you would get? How many ‘don’t knows’ do you think you would get?

Interesting, isn’t it? Why not be daring and try asking the question?

If you, if they, don’t know what the number one priority is for the next 90 days doesn’t that mean that your team are as dysfunctional and ineffective as the rowing eight referred to above? Can you afford to be that way?

Clarity is power and the power of having the whole team focussed on the same priority is compelling. That is why priorities is the number one discipline required for excellent execution.

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