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If you feel overwhelmed, unfocused or unmotivated by the growth strategy your company is pursuing, you may be suffering from a common ailment: trying to do too much at once.

Priority management is a complicated and arduous process, one that can unfortunately cause more confusion than clarity. When leaders meet to determine the company’s top goals and work on setting priorities to focus on, they can often get sidetracked by a multitude of wish list items and conflicting initiatives. The result is a laundry list of priorities that divides the attention of managers and employees and does not lead to success.

Booz & Company, a global management consulting firm, conducted a survey of more than 1,800 executives of different sizes, locations and industries about how they feel about their companies’ strategy. According to the results, the majority say their company has too many contradictory priorities. Most of the executives surveyed don’t feel their company’s strategy will result in success.

Surprising Data on Priority Management

  • 64 percent say that their biggest source of frustration is “having too many conflicting priorities.”
  • 81 percent say growth initiatives lead to waste (at least some of the time)
  • 50 percent think determining a clear strategy is a major challenge
  • The biggest challenges are: aligning day-to-day decisions with the strategy (56 percent) and using resources in a manner that supports the strategy (56 percent)
  • 49 percent say their company doesn’t have a list of strategic priorities
  • 52 percent don’t believe their company’s strategy will lead to success
  • The majority of respondents say their company has a clearly stated set of capabilities, but only 33 percent say those capabilities support the company’s strategy and how it creates value in the market

According to this survey, setting priorities is a significant challenge for many leaders in all different fields. There are too many ideas competing for attention, and leaders have a difficult time sorting through the clutter to find the most important concepts.

Simplicity Leads to Better Priority Management

When it comes to prioritizing a company’s strategic goals, less is more. Companies that keep their priorities clear, simple and aligned with their capabilities are more profitable.

  • Respondents who say their company has one to three strategic priorities are the most likely to report above-average profitability and revenue growth
  • Executives who say their company’s capabilities support the strategy also are most likely to claim above-average profitability and revenue growth

As a leader, do you struggle with setting priorities? How do you improve your priority management?

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