Why Prioritization Sets the Foundation for Our Success

Why Prioritization Sets the Foundation for Our Success

via Thrive Global by David Robinson

Prioritization is vital for mission success. In addition to the challenges brought about by the information technology revolution related to knowing and communicating with your people with meaningful depth, I think there is a second important effect that makes leadership especially challenging in the information age. Specifically, I’m referring to the volume and speed at which information flows onto your plate.

Between e-mail, phone, text, instant messaging, video conferencing, social media, the internet, and an ever-expanding list of other applications, information saturation has become the norm. Most of the time your plate is overflowing, and it can feel like everything is a priority. But as the old saying goes, “When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.”  

This lesson was especially reinforced for me in 2009 when I was transitioning from the Pentagon to my final assignment as the Marine aircraft group commander in South Carolina. It’s customary for commanding officers in the military to develop and distribute a “philosophy of command.” This is typically a one-page leadership philosophy or “leader’s intent” for the organization, so that everyone knows the commander’s vision and expectations for the unit (we’ll discuss this topic in more depth in the next chapter).

As I began my due diligence and mission analysis to draft my leader’s intent, a familiar pattern began to emerge. Like many organizations, it seemed like the unit was focused on being good at so many priorities, that it was at risk of being average at best at what mattered most….

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