Usually, priorities come up in the context of time management and operational concerns. But did you know that having unclear priorities can also reduce revenue?
According to “Stop Chasing Too Many Priorities” by Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi in the Harvard Business Review, too many operational priorities correlates with a given company’s ability to outperform its peers in terms of revenue. Having too many “#1 priorities” will reduce revenue potential. It will be harder to communicate the vision to both customers and employees. Also harder to execute.
Multitasking increases cortisol, the stress hormone. For many tasks it produces an effect similar to a drop in IQ.
For example, lately, I’ve been focussing on writing. This is an activity that makes everything else easier for me or unnecessary. This insight comes from the book and podcast The One Thing. Mostly habits really. Habit formation is kind of a baseline for everything else to fall into place. It helps to be very deliberate about what habits you form, and to make sure that they’re aligned with longer term outcomes.
I’ve endured phases of my life where I went pretty deep into personal development topics. Lately, I’m more interested in organizing my own work as well as that of my team. If we aren’t agreed on what must be done, in order to kick start focussing time and other resources, then they likely won’t get the inteded outputs. This is kind of a “captain obvious” truth. Especially when working on new products, if people don’t at least have a clear goal defined, then it’s easy for them to drift.
When scaling up habits to a workgroup level, though, it’s worth pointing out that we’re mostly trying to manage the work, not the workers:
Having the right habits means having habits like watching the baton. Making sure that, in fact, only one thing is done at a time and it’s the highest priority item. That people are supported sufficiently. That everyone is clear on goals, even if the path to those goals isn’t validated yet.
Multitasking works great in software, where there is no switching cost. Expecting humans to multitask.. bad idea.