Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

Leadership Blog

Communicating Priorities

I played basketball last Friday night for the first time in a while. During the contest it occurred to me how priorities change over time. Back in my youth, my top three basketball priorities were:
1. Win
2. Win
3. Have fun

During a timeout I shared the list with my fellow court-warriors. Most of them are fast approaching AARP-dom. As such, they joked that their current basketball priorities are:
1. Don’t have a coronary
2. Don’t break anything
3. Get some great exercise

Interesting things happened after that conversation. The pace of the game slowed down, the intensity lessened, and people began to play tentatively. Everyone was embracing the most recently stated priorities – even though they were offered in jest. Later, during a timeout, we had a more serious discussion about notching up our level of play. Funny, that’s exactly what happened – we began to focus and execute better. So my question to you leaders out there is this: “What kind of priorities are you communicating?” I guarantee you that if you become distracted by much of the negative swirl that has become commonplace, so too will be your team. You cannot expect your team to execute flawlessly if you are in a panic, make sarcastic remarks about your business situation, or holding a bevy of closed-door meetings. What should you do? It’s easy:
1. Don’t have a coronary
2. Communicate important priorities
3. Be a role model (a darn good one)

Embrace the above stated items and you will win. Just like we did last Friday night.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2009-03-30 at 08:00 AM
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