Learning From a Different Place – Part 17
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Have you ever wondered why some people accomplish more than others? I always thought that some people just had more time or better tools. Law number 17 in John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership teaches us that the real difference maker is the ability to prioritize well. Even though I’ve spent years studying this law, it’s still a struggle for me. The Law of Priorities is even referenced in a class I teach, so you would think by now I would have it down, but I’m still learning. Let’s take a look at the Three Rs of Prioritization.

  • What is required? This first “R” is perhaps the easiest. What part of your job is a daily or weekly requirement? This may include things like payroll that only you can approve. Perhaps it’s a review of purchase orders that you may be responsible for. The most important thing about this first step is to identify things you must do that nobody can or should do for you. Spend the time necessary to work this question out. You may be surprised by what others can and should be doing for you.
  • What gives the greatest return? The greatest return on your efforts will always be in your gifted areas. Patrick Lencioni refers to these as your two “Working Geniuses.” These are the areas of your job where you become energized, and quite simply, you’re very good at them. By prioritizing these types of activities, you will have a greater impact, get more accomplished, and won’t be exhausted at the end.
  • What gives you the greatest reward? Prioritizing activities that have great meaning for you allows you to work in areas that are in line with your values. These activities will place you in the center of your purpose or, as Simon Sinek says, your “Why.” Often these are the activities we look forward to, a reason to jump out of bed in the morning so we can get busy living out our purpose.

As I reflected on this law, I realized that I need to reprioritize some things in my life. I need to become more comfortable asking others to support me. So many things throughout my day are things other people can do much better than me. They have offered to help, and I need to let them. If I stay focused on identifying things I must do that nobody can or should do for me, then ask others to help with the rest, I just might have more time to work on what provides the greatest return and what gives the greatest reward.

You know, I just might be making progress with the Law of Priorities.