Here’s a simple exercise I use with my clients to get them thinking about what their priorities should be:
“Fast Forward One Year”
Imagine that you and I are meeting to debrief the year that was 2014. Your business has just had its best year ever. Now ask yourself one simple question. What are the three most important things that happened to make the year so successful? By thinking about the three biggest highlights of your “best year ever”, you can begin to see what is most important to you and the actions you will need to prioritise over the next 12 months to achieve your most desired outcomes.
To narrow it down to three and consider the implications on the actions you’ll need to take consistently during the year can be a challenge, but it is well worth taking the effort and reflection. Knowing what’s most important and being able to repeatedly return your focus to those things is critical to being both efficient and effective with your most valuable resource – time.
When I do this exercise with my clients, it is very revealing. Not only does it let me know what their priorities are, but it also paints me a picture of what success looks like to them. With that perspective, I can begin to challenge them. Are they thinking big enough or are they are playing it safe? Is their focus on doing too many things themselves? Are their “highlights” all about business as usual or are they branching out and tackling new initiatives as well.
One of the best things about this exercise is that it can be used for personal goal setting, team or divisional planning and even as a guide to uncovering an entire organisation’s most important priorities.
Here’s to your success in 2014!