The first of the two areas we are going to explore this week is Prioritization. In a business context where it is not the norm that things slow down and everything is deemed essential, it’s important to take time to prioritize and consider What’s urgent and what’s not.
One tool which helps us with prioritization is The Urgent/Important Matrix. Here’s what I wrote in Teams #951:
Made famous by Steven Covey and his work, the Urgent/Important Matrix gets us to think about what is really important and urgent in our work. Where are we spending our time? Are we focusing on things that are in the crisis zone of urgent and important, or are we able to be proactive and spend a bulk of our time in the not-urgent and important area of planning, building business relationships. Many professionals may find themselves getting bogged down with the urgent and not important tasks - things like meetings that are not relevant, email, reporting. And of course, the final part of the matrix is the land of the “time suckers” spending time in the not- urgent and not important tasks. Some of the topics in the “time sucker” category include excessive time on social media etc.
Activity: Think back to where you have spent your time over the last week. What quadrant are you spending the bulk of your time in? What’s the impact of this?
The virtual tweak for virtual teams. In virtual teams we want to leave space for the team to also consider these questions on two levels:
1. For themselves within the context of their setting
2. For the entire virtual team
It may be useful to have people do individual reflection work first, asking them to complete an urgent/important matrix (see here for download) first for themselves. This may take 10-15 minutes to complete before your team conversation. Next, have the team complete one for the entire virtual team. Place a blank matrix up on the screen, and have each persons hare via annotation what their key priorities are. This may lead to a long laundry list, and you may see competing priorities.
This can lead to a rich conversation around:
What do you notice about all the key priorities
What alignment exists?
What conflict emerges amongst them
Ultimately what are our top 3 priorities for this period as a team?
What do we need to focus on in order to achieve these?
What do we need to say no to?
After this team based conversion focus in onr what changes need to be made to their own individual priorities and the final plan.
Enjoy the conversation!
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