As we have highlighted, one of the major reasons for failure to grow is the inability to resource the critical initiatives to win. Usually the challenge is stopping programs that are not consistent with your goals to create the budgetary headroom for the really important programs. Leaders must set clear priorities and communicate them to the organization. We often have leadership teams develop Ballpark Decision Criteria or those criteria they will use to decide resource allocation, broadly disseminate them, and then really use them to make decisions. This blog posting offers nice insight to the challenge.
"Everyone knows the problems that arise when kids walk into a candy store: Everything looks so good they want it all, and they end up overdoing it. Unfortunately, practicing self-control doesn't get any easier with age, which might explain why setting a limited number of priorities, and sticking to them, is one of the most difficult challenges facing managers today......
.......Many felt that everything was important and nothing could be dropped without serious consequences. But if everything is called a priority, then nothing is. In fact, what's worse is that people at lower levels, faced with the impossible task of trying to respond to everything, end up deciding what is important based on their more limited sense of the company's strategy and their ability to get things done. By not clarifying the few key priorities, leadership teams unintentionally delegate priority-setting to their people. And then they wonder why everyone isn't on the same page.
1. Use your current portfolio to deduce your real priorities.
2. Force-rank the projects to determine what's really important.
3. Communicate to the rest of the organization.
4. Repeat the process periodically. "