Too Many Conflicting Priorities?

Goal!

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Nearly two-thirds of surveyed executives report that they have too many conflicting priorities.  More than half admit that resources are a challenge.  Four in Five admit that growth initiatives lead to waste.  Nearly half believe that their customers and employees don’t understand how their company creates value.  How many of these executives underestimate these issues?  How much worse does it get in the factory, on the production floor, or in your office?

These management ailments have been identified in a Booz & Company survey published in the Harvard Business Review article titled Stop Chasing Too Many Priorities.  Not only did this article say that executives have too many conflicting priorities, waste, and resource issues, it also states that companies focusing on fewer strategic priorities report higher revenue growth.  This may not be a big surprise.  You have probably been frustrated at some point when you had to many tasks and were unable to do any of them well.  Authors Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi suggest that some executives don’t need to ask how to find more opportunities.  They need to ask themselves how they can get focused on the right initiatives for their company.  Now that’s a great question.

It is also a great question for Lean Leaders who are struggling in an effort to achieve too many objectives too quickly.  Instead of taking on every new idea that sounds good, ask yourself , “How can I focus on opportunities that will help my company excel?   What are the opportunities to focus on right now to move Lean forward at this site?”  Know what you are best at—the capabilities you have that others don’t—and focus where you can succeed. Learn to say no when things seem appealing and even lucrative, but do not offer you a real chance to win.  Recognize that you can only focus on a limited number of objectives at one time.

What about you?  Does your team have too many conflicting priorities or maybe just too many things to do to do any of them well?  How can your leadership increase the focus on the truly critical objectives?

Best regards,
Christian Paulsen
Lean Leadership
Written for Consumer Goods Club

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About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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