<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=290086984736480&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

A Better Way to Prioritize Projects for Business Owners

Aug. 13, 2013 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Steering wheel covered in notes as a reminder of errands to do

 

All businesses, and especially small/medium business owners, struggle with priorities. The Tyranny of the Urgent ensures that the important and urgent get done. Otherwise, the business would not exist. The key to the more successful businesses is that they also figure out how to work on Covey's Quadrant 2 tasks: those that are important but not urgent.

Many businesses find some time to do a strategic planning workshop or similar session - even informally - to give some thought to the Quadrant 2 activities. These are always invigorating sessions that lead to many good ideas about how to move the business forward. What often happens is that near the end of the strategic planning workshop everyone is enthused because they've finally found some time to focus on the future - and how much better things might be if they could only get to Quadrant 2 tasks.

The enthusiasm quickly turns to reality when they look at the 30 or more different tasks and projects that came out of the brainstorming. They have all kinds of great tasks on the flip charts...but they still have the same Quadrant 1 tasks (important & urgent) waiting for them in the office and the same staff.

Want additional insight? Read 10 Tricks to Make the Most of your Time now

DOWNLOAD

The way a typical team will tackle this is to prioritize. Everyone will give their votes on importance. Maybe the team circulates a spreadsheet with all the tasks to vote on. Regardless of approach, this inevitably results in almost all high priority tasks! Most businesses do not have a method to create real separation in all of their good ideas to help them focus on those that will "move the needle". Inevitably, nothing gets done and it's back to fire fighting.

So here's a better way forward. Put all of your important tasks & projects on a spreadsheet. Distribute it to your leadership team and ask each of them to prioritize. But, do NOT use a simple "rank 1 to 5" mechanism - where almost everything comes out a 3.5. Instead, give each executive 100 total votes to allocate across the tasks in any way that they see fit. If someone feels very strongly about an item, they can allocate 25 votes to it - leaving 75 to distribute across the other items.

Using this type of system helps everyone think very hard about what is truly important. Once you collect and tally the results, a handful of priorities will rank significantly higher than the others. This creates true separation and therefore gives the business owner a small set of Quadrant 2 activities that he or she can finally make progress on.

This is just an example of the type of technique that a facilitator / business coach has up his or her sleeves to help business owners be more successful. The strategic planning workshops that we offer are filled with these kinds of techniques to establish a thoughtful plan that leads to meaningful results.

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by The Alternative Board

Related posts

What Does Workplace Health and Safety Look Like Now?
May. 14, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
As businesses across the U.S. slowly begin to reopen, there’s renewed focus on what constitutes a safe and healthy workplace. From the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, business owners and CEOs have...
Ready To Reopen Your Business? Here Are 3 Questions to Consider
May. 5, 2020 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
As business owners, we’ve been waiting to receive the much anticipated “green light” to go back to work. As this day inches closer, you’ll need to devise a plan that addresses how your business will...
A Balanced Mindset for Weathering the Pandemic
Apr. 28, 2020 | Posted by Dave Scarola
Never has the entire global economy come to a screeching halt. In past recessions or natural disasters, we have always been able to look to previous and similar events. Even if the latest recession...
Tips for Business Owners and Employees Working from Home
Mar. 18, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
The Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has changed virtually everything about the way business is conducted right now. For the vast majority of businesses across the U.S., this means shuttering workplaces...
Growth Explained: Ways to Expand Your Company's Potential
Feb. 4, 2020 | Posted by Grace Fenson
One of the main reasons why many businesses fail is due to lack of scaling. It's not enough to just have a good idea and an excellent marketing strategy. To remain competitive, you need to find new...
How to Prepare Employees for AI and the Future of Work
Sep. 3, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board
No one can say with certainty what the future of work will look like. But many elements are already in place, and employers should think long and hard about how their workplace will evolve as the...
What's the Difference Between Business Development and Sales?
Jul. 18, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board
At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be much distinction between business development and sales. Aren’t both activities geared towards generating more profit for the organization? Isn’t a sales...
Five Tips to Effectively Scale Your Business' Growth
Jun. 27, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board
All businesses need to grow, but at what pace and how quickly should they scale that growth? These questions intrigue (and sometimes torment) business owners, because there’s no single “right” answer...
How to Generate Effective Word-of-Mouth Sales Referrals
Jun. 25, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Think about how you choose to make your purchase. There’s research you do online, or perhaps you’ve bought a product or service from a particular company before, and you’re comfortable doing so...
Are You Looking to Expand Your Business? We Can Help You
Jun. 4, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
Over the years, I’ve coached many business owners as they’ve worked to expand their business. Whether it’s the physical expansion of your office space, expanding your workforce, or investing in new...