Christiaan Lam – over de dagelijkse avonturen van een mobiele manager
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Manager attitude principle 6: focus on priorities

Focussing on priorities is one of the most important principles to actually get things done and not get stuck in the murky waters of day-to-day business.

fo·cus [foh-kuhs]
1. a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity: The need to prevent a nuclear war became the focus of all diplomatic efforts.

pri·or·i·ty [prahy-awr-i-tee, -or-]
1. the state or quality of being earlier in time, occurrence, etc.
2. the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence.
3. the right to take precedence in obtaining certain supplies, services, facilities, etc., esp. during a shortage.
4. something given special attention.
5. highest or higher in importance, rank, privilege, etc.: a priority task.

As manager, you probably have a to-do list (implicit or explicit) that is more than you can handle in a day. There’s always something more to do, more to direct, more to manage. More often then not, you’ll have to decide what to do today and what tomorrow (or yet later). Conscious or not, you’ll be assigning priorities and focussing on those.

When making decisions about what to do (and what not) it is only fair that you demand focus from your own manager/managementteam too. What is most important that we do? Which are the 1-3 focal points of our attention and time?

Having a proper and clear focus means that you and your colleagues will make the right choices in addressing the issues that need to be done, ensuring you’ll reach the goal set by the company (be it growth, reducing sick-leave, improving the companies image in the media, whatever). Instead of having a group of managers doing just what they think needs done for their own unit/group/project, they’ll have a common goal too. So, demand focus from your management today!

And it means that some things might not be done, left for another time somewhere in the future. If so, principles 1 thru 3 (Agreement = Agreement, On time = on time, Action = Result = Feedback) are still in effect so make sure to mention to the relevant stakeholders which actions you are not performing or which agreements you are not honoring and why.

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