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Prioritising for Success


To make clear and relevant decisions and plans to achieve what needs to be done efficiently and effectively

Prioritising fundamentals


Align to work patterns and business flow

For timely decision making in pursuit of short, medium and long-term outcomes


With any individual needed to deliver on shared priorities

  • Leader

  • Team Member

  • Parteners

  • Colleagues

Define the problem or opportunity to clarify the ambition

Break down the ambition into a set of SMART objectives and desired outcomes to validate the reasons for taking action and determine the measures of success

Define key milestones, as visible as possible, to guide the sequence of actions, track progress and navigate through any risks or opportunities to achieve success

Success is more dependent on adding value to the business than delivering to a highly detailed original plan

How to plan more pragmatically

For leaders to effectively plan and implement on ideas that will add most value to the business they need to master a balance of divergent and convergent thinking processes to test assumptions and validate ideas.

Define the problem or opportunity

Respond with the best solution


Explore the problem through research and creative thinking for a wide view of ideas and insights


Review the ideas with more objective thinking to establish a clear definition of the problem or opportunity



DESIGN Brainstorm and generate a wide range of possible options to respond to the problem or opportunity


Objectively assess, build, test and refine the best solution



Manage the pipeline

Agree the process for managing and prioritising the full pipeline of ideas

Based on the Design Council’s Double Diamond Design Process

Only then establish SMART objectives

Specific: Have you described what needs to be achieved as clearly as possible?

Measurable: How will others know the extent to which each objective has been met?

Achievable: What better words can be used to keep commitments actionable and realistic?

Relevant: How do the objectives help deliver on business priorities?

Time-bound: What is the time frame for achieving each objective?

Prioritising action practice

1| AMBITION | What needs to happen?

2| OBJECTIVE | Why does it need to happen?

3| MILESTONE | What will progress look like?

5| OUTCOMES | How will success be measured and celebrated?

4| ACTION | How will it happen? By when? By who?

“Outcome thinking is the most effective means available for making wishes reality”

- David Allen

High performing leaders need to deliver on 3 needs when making decisions. Consider a current decision that you need to make. How will you balance all 3 needs?

Task Needs

TASK – what needs to happen, when and how so the team can contribute, check progress and adjust plans?

Team Needs

TEAM – how will you establish and nurture team standards, habits and communications to collaborate on tasks?

Individual Needs

INDIVIDUAL – what does each person need from you, as their leader, to perform their tasks better? Coaching or directing, recognition or feedback?

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