Dreams should be BIG! In fact, BHAGs – big, hairy, audacious goals – can be the substance of personal dreams or corporate visions. They are still remote and theoretical until they are broken down into smaller executable goals with roles, responsibilities and timelines.
Many ideas and opportunities compete for our time. Some will help us achieve our goals; others are simple distractions that prevent us from focus. To achieve our dreams, we need to ask if the latest opportunity to cross our path actually supports our BHAG. Does it get us one step closer to our dream? If not, we should probably set it aside, forget about it altogether or delay it for consideration at a later time.
What happens when several competing ideas fall within our BHAG execution plan, but we can’t handle them all at once? Prioritize!
Here’s a tool that I’ve found useful when prioritizing. First list all your competing opportunities. Then draw a box with four quadrants. I suggest using a white board, if you have one. Label the vertical side (the y axis) with the word “Impact”. Indicate the range with “High” on the top and “Low” on the bottom; label the horizontal side (the x axis) with “Ease of Implementation”. Its range has “High” on the right and “Low” on the left. Your diagram should look like this:
Using erasable markers or Post-it notes, map your competing opportunities into the four quadrants. If something is high impact and easy to implement, it should go into the top right quadrant. If something is easy to implement, but has low impact toward your goal, then it should be placed in the bottom right quadrant. Using erasable markers or Post-it notes allows you to move your individual opportunities around as you discern the relationship of one priority to another.
After you’ve completed your priority mapping, your finished product may look something like this:
In this case, you probably want to start with those items that have both the highest impact and are the easiest to implement. Option C is a clear winner followed by options A and H. These are your “low hanging fruit” and should be tackled first. In the meantime, you may want to put a longer-range plan in place to address Option D, which clearly has high impact, but will be more difficult to implement.
Too many things on your plate at once will cause you to be ineffective. You can’t do everything! It is as important to decide what you will NOT do as it is to decide where to focus. Option B should definitely come off the plate, because the impact is too low to matter. Option F should also be eliminated. Option G may be something to consider if you can find a way to increase its impact.
This is a simple tool, but it has been used to great effect. Prioritize, work your goals, and exceed your dreams! That’s our wish for you in 2018!
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About the Author
Melanie R. Varin specializes in business process consulting for organizations across many industries. With more than 30 years of business expertise, Melanie focuses on providing clients with winning strategies for improving their sales, marketing and overall business processes from assessment to implementation.
Melanie’s certifications include: Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Silver Certified Microsoft partner and Registered Salesforce partner.