Everything is a priority…

“…so nothing is a priority! I have so much work I don’t even know where to start!”

Sound familiar?

This complaint comes up frequently from employees, and as a result we as business owners end up spending a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to figure out what to work on next. Worse, the more the business grows, the more we get pulled into having to direct every department’s and person’s activity. Many business owners start feeling trapped by their business’ success!

Yet there is hope

There is a relatively simple antidote available for this problem – having and communicating a clear and compelling vision of your business’ future.

We’re not talking about the dusty plaque you might have on your wall – we’re talking about everyone having a common, crystal-clear understanding of where you would like the business to be three to five years from today.

This kind of shared vision acts like an illuminated thousand-foot tower far off in the distance, beckoning and guiding your team towards it even when they can’t see it directly. How? Imagine your business path crossing a series of valleys and ridges where we only can occasionally see the tower. As we drop down into a valley, the sight of the tower will keep us on track until it disappears – and then the compelling memory of the tower will continue to motivate us until we crest a ridge and catch sight of it again. As we hack through the thick brush, every action, every decision, every choice can be made asking ourselves whether or not we’re still moving toward the tower – or not.

Every obstacle simply becomes something to go over, under, around, or through. And once we emerge from each obstacle we even know what course correction to make to get back on track.

So what does this mean for your business?

If you gathered your team for a 100-mile journey and said “Let’s get started!” you can imagine that there wouldn’t be much movement until everyone had a good picture of where you all were going. The same applies to your business – the clearer the picture you paint of the future, and the more often you reinforce it with your team, the quicker that future will become reality.

Actions you can take today

  1. Take 20 minutes and ask yourself for one important thing you would like to have in your business in 3-5 years (or farther out). It might be the way everyone feels at work, or the number of clients you have, or even the amount of passion you feel about the business. Imagine this thing as if it were already completed and write it down in detail, describing exactly what it’s like.
  2. Ask your top team where they can imagine this one attribute at the end of the same timeframe. Jot down their answers next to yours, then share your vision of where you’d like to be. You’re on your way to start building a clear and compelling shared vision of the future!

Chris Hutchinson

About the Author:  Chris Hutchinson, President and CEO of Trebuchet Group, helps facilitate leadership growth and business success of local and global clients, using a collaborative approach to enable consistent, effective results. He can be reached at chris@trebuchetgroup.com

© 2008 Trebuchet Group