How To Get Your Business Priorities Straight
TRANSCRIPT AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED Hey, Hey. Today, I want to have a chat with you about your priority. And. You'll notice that I use the singular there. Priority means the most important thing. And therefore, when we start to talk about priorities, We're not talking about the most important thing. Right. It comes from, I dunno, some Greek or Latin word that means. Coming before. So your priority is the thing that comes before all others. And this can apply in different situations. So you may be thinking, what is my priority? It for my life. Right. And that might be your children. It might be your impact. It might be creating some kind of legacy. But I'm going to focus more on thinking about this in a business situation. So I want you to think about your business and ask yourself. What is your priority? What is the thing that comes before all others What can be a really fun exercise is to write on all the things that you can think of that are important to you in your business. It might be creating profit. It might be your team. It might be your clients. It might be your impact. It might be sustainability. It could be doing something new and cool. It could be. Excellence And I want you to think about all of them, and then I want you to stack rank them. If you've not done stack ranking or not heard of it before, it's essentially taking, like, let's say you have 10 priorities. It's essentially putting them in order. And so what you do is you say, I would choose number one. Even over number two, even over number three, even over number four, even over number five. Oh no, wait, I would choose number six over number one. Okay. So number six. Is your top priority. Then you start again. You say what I choose? Number one over number two, over number three, over number four. Okay. Not over number five. Okay. So number five becomes second in your list. Okay. And I think this is a really clarifying exercise for you to do. And then I want you to look at. With. That is actually how you're showing up in your business. The easiest example that we can use is work-life balance. We say I prioritize work-life balance. Okay. Do we prioritize work-life balance over making money. Or do we only prioritize work-life balance when money is in part of the equation? So when the business is running smoothly and your monthly revenue is coming in and everything feels comfortable, then you apply work-life balance. As a priority. However. When the business isn't making enough money. Then work-life balance gets put to the side and we focus on performance. Okay. And this is why people talk about work-life balance. Isn't about trying to balance things. It's actually a seasonal thing. Sometimes you can have work-life balance. Sometimes the business needs focus. And so you really have to look at these priorities. That you're talking about in your business and think about what are you choosing when the chips are down? What do you choose? And for a lot of us that is going to be performance. We're small businesses. We're tight on time and we also run. Usually really thin buffers, right? So a big business in a downtime has a lot of buffer that it can lean into. We as a small business, we're much leaner and our buffers tend to be leaner as well. So if you decide. That work-life balance has to be your priority. Like how are you going to show up in that way? Maybe what that means is that in order for you to always be able to choose work-life balance, no matter what's happening in the business, you need to have a bigger buffer, right? You need to have a big cash reserve. Or you need to think about. Uh, business model that supports it differently. Right. There are ways to work everything in your business around what that priority is. But it's about getting really clear. And there's no shame in saying, Hey, you know, my business performing. Is my number one priority. And if that's working, then my number two priority is work-life balance. The reason I want you to be super clear on this. It is going to make your decision making so much easier. Think of it, like you go into. A launch and you know, work-life balance. You're going to choose it no matter what, even if the launch is going badly. You're going to choose to only work the hours that you've set to make sure we're getting adequate waste to do all the life things. While you do the business. Does that mean you need to change your goals for launched? Does it mean you need to plan your launch further out? Does it mean you need more support on that launch? Or if you're choosing performance. You know, a can going into launch season. I'm going to throw everything at this. I need to understand that I maybe am not going to hit all my social engagements. I need to prepare the family. I need to think about. What support do I need at home? Because I'm going to be a hundred percent focused on performance. I'm just using these two because they're really, they're a really obvious one. And most small businesses are facing this particular priority swing. But what it's allowing you to do is make those decisions really quickly and really easily. it comes down to, in the case of these two, if the business is performing well, Then work-life balance wins. If the business is underperforming and you can, you get to set what that limit is for underperforming in your business. Then performance needs to take the place of work-life balance. Maybe I need to work a couple of extra hours. Maybe I need to say no to something. But it's giving you that clear rule. To make a decision without you really needing to think as hard about it and weigh up every single pro and con. And when you're in a space that you're already overwhelmed with responsibilities and the number of decisions that you're going to make. The easier it is to make a decision the better for you energy, the better fuel mental capacity. And here's the thing. If you have a team. You have to be crystal clear on what the priority is. In the same way that you can use this to make a decision. They can and should be using it to make a decision as well. To use a different example. That will be easier to think of from a team perspective, if you value excellence. Or you value speed. Those can sometimes be conflicting priorities. Excellence is about getting it perfect and getting it right. And making it as good as it possibly can be. Speed is still getting a good thing out to market or to a customer or whatever it is. But it makes allowances for maybe it's B plus work versus A-plus work. Your team needs to know which of these is the priority, because if your priority is speed and your team is focused on excellence. That's going to be very frustrating for you and very frustrating for them. And vice versa. If you are demanding excellence and they're giving you B plus work. You are going to be frustrated at the level. of output, you're going to be concerned about what your customers are thinking. But you need to decide first and foremost for yourself. What is your priority? And then how would that impact, how would that flow out into the business? If you're talking about performance and work-life balance, what's enough performance, like what tells you that the business is running? And so you can choose work-life balance. If you're talking about excellence versus speed. What defines that? His speed, having something done in 24 hours or 48 hours. Is it. Excellent over everything else. Even if it takes us three months to get to market. So being able to stack rank, all of those things is going to really start to get you thinking about your business. And then thinking about. How you are showing up as a leader. If your team are aware of these priorities and you show up in a way that contradicts them. That creates this crack in the trust that they have for you. Because they're not a hundred percent sure what to expect that makes them feel unsafe. In the same way. If you are not clear on your priorities. This is going to feel like whiplash to them. If one day work-life balance is important, the next day performance is important and the next day excellence is important. They don't know what to do. They don't know how to make a decision. And they are going to get into that kind of. Like deer in headlights space. and just stop. They're not really gonna know what to do with themselves, and that's going to be incredibly frustrating for you. So, if you are in those situations, if you recognize those situations, there's a really good chance. That you either haven't. Got clear on your priorities yourself. Or you haven't communicated them clearly to your team. So, what I want you to take from this is, if you say these are my priorities. You're not helping yourself choose every time they clash, you're having to make another decision. Sitting down when you're not in a decision mode when you're not in the pressure or stress of a situation. And actually deciding what you want your priorities to be. We'll help you to set some rules for your business. Now we are not always going to be great at sticking to these. And we're not always going to get this right. Sometimes. We're going to get lost in the excellence. Sometimes we're going to get lost in the speed. Sometimes we're going to get lost in the work-life balance. But it's about coming back to it and kind of getting back on that wagon. And I really love, I saw this today on social media and it reminded me. James clear when he talks on atomic habits, he talks about the two day rule, right? So when you're trying to establish a new habit, there'll be days where you, where you fail. But you don't ever want that to extend to two days. So when you're thinking in terms of your decisions, As you're working on your business, the more you choose something that isn't your priority. The more you make that your priority. So let's say you said work-life balance was your priority. The more you choose performance, the more that that becomes your priority. So you want to be really clear on what that priority is and then pay attention to when you've made a decision that isn't in line with it. And once you've made a couple of decisions that aren't in line with it. You want to ask yourself. Is this actually my priority. Do I need to come back to it? That's going to make you more consistent in business. That's going to make your business feel more consistent for you, and it's going to help your team to find you more consistent and to show up more consistently when they're supporting you.
One of the most difficult questions I ask entrepreneurs is, “What is your priority? And does your behavior match it?”
In This Episode
- The problem with priorities
- How to find your priority
- Why this will benefit you, the business, and your team
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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this podcast episode and article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article or episode. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Diane Mayor disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.