Listing Your Priorities: Common Sense, Not Commonly Done

One thing business schools do get right is about writing down and reducing things down to priorities. 

One thing business schools do get right is about writing down and reducing things down to priorities. Have your to-do list and your do-not list and on your to-do list really keep it down to five simple things and no more.  And don’t add another one until you knock one off.


When you think about how you can create a culture of accountability, of understanding what it is you're trying to achieve, what CEO’s and founders and managers need to do out there is each year, write down very clearly in plain English the five things you’re trying to accomplish.  And make that a public document to your board and to your employees, and come back to it with the intellectual honesty, with the non-revisionist historian lens of saying, “Oh, I didn’t really mean that.” 

Put down those five things and come back and check on them.  When you tell people these are the five things that matter and that’s all that matters, it’s amazing how people can rowdy around.  People are smart; they’ll figure out how to achieve those goals.  The problem is that people tend to veer off, they tend to not be honest about why something didn’t work.  You build great cultures by both commanding the respect with those priorities set out but also earning the respect when things don’t go right and rewarding people when things really do go well, and it was because of them.

But where you can work really at the next level of leadership is through clear, clear, clear communication of what your top five things are and it’s as simple as that.  It’s common sense, just not commonly done enough. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less