Prioritization 201

  • By Shawn Sommerkamp
  • 31 Mar, 2017

In a previous post, we covered how to use REPS to keep the stress low and first things first, a way to think about prioritization. Of course, it was labeled 101 because it is more of a basic-level way of managing duties. As you gain more direct-reports, territory and financial responsibility, you will see that mastering prioritization is one of your most valuable assets.

For this post, we will go to the next level in managing priorities – Prioritization 201!

The very nature of our hyper competitive marketplace requires us to be constantly available to a whole host of demands, meetings, calls and deliverables. This includes both internal and external customers too. We are often required to make tough decisions about who will get our time and who will not. We prioritize the best we can and sometimes leave someone disappointed. There isn’t enough time in the day…or is there?

So how can you manage the never-ending demand for your time and activity? Is it possible to give everyone what they want? Believe it or not, you can actually say “yes” to everyone who asks for your support. The key is making sure they understand WHEN you will be able to deliver.

In the world of project management, this is known as the Iron Triangle. Inside the area of the triangle is found task Quality.

The three sides of the triangle are Time, Scope and Cost. In order to maintain project quality, the three sides of the triangle must be fixed. As soon as one of the sides is changed, the only way to maintain the area of the triangle (project quality) is to change at least one of the other sides.

For example, a customer wants you to compress the delivery time of your task by one week. That means they are asking you to make the Time side of the triangle shorter. In order to maintain task Quality, you have to change at least one of the other sides, Scope or Cost. In real world terms, to compress a timeline means the scope of the task has to be lessened, or they have to pay more money to get the task accomplished sooner.

Accept the task, and put it in your calendar. If the requestor wants it sooner or cheaper or bigger, you can still say “yes”. You will just let them know what will be sacrificed in order to maintain quality.

Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience.  He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to use their career to glorify God and support local church growth.

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Shawn Sommerkamp, speaking to the Charleston Church of Christ at the New Year's Eve church service Dec 31, 2017.

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Targeted goal-setting is powerful and effective. It helps us keep clarity of outcome. Breaking big desires down into smaller, achievable goals makes success achievable. The biggest challenges are overcome as we make a series of small goals that, collectively, lead to big outcomes. 

And yet, just setting a bunch of goals can often be discouraging when we don’t reach them. Ever wonder why we often fall short? It’s because the goals weren’t smart! I’m not talking about whether the goals are stupid or intelligent either. I’m talking about a simple way of thinking about an activity designed to help us achieve results. It’s called S.M.A.R.T. and it stands for the following:

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It’s early January. 

The Holidays are over. 

It can feel like we go from the ‘The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ to the most challenging time of the year. 

A more appropriate lyric, now that it is time to make resolutions & get back to work, could be one of the following… 

‘It’s The Most: 

  - Stressful
  - Sad
  - Crazy busy
  - Cash poor
  - Lonely
  - Weight Gaining
  - Overrated

 …Time Of The Year.’`

It’s not that you are ‘Bah Humbug’…

You want to enjoy it, but it can feel more like “I just want to get through it.”

Although your MIND knows that God’s will for you (according to 1 Th 5:16-18) is to:

“Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances…”  

...your HEART can lag behind & this simple command can seem overwhelming.

Sometimes you can put your finger on what’s dragging you down & other times it’s more elusive ~ not really sure what’s keeping things from being ‘Wonderful’.

By Shawn Sommerkamp 20 Nov, 2017

1 Thessalonians 5:18   Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

Give thanks, no matter what is happening in your life.  This is easy…right? 

A national polling firm named Penn, Schoen, & Berland conducted a survey, mid-2012, evaluating American attitude toward thankfulness. They conducted more than 2,000 interviews across the US general population. I’m only going to share a few pieces of the overall report:    

  • 90% of people said they would describe themselves as people who are generally grateful for their family and friends
  • However, only 52% of women and 44% of men express any thankfulness regularly
  • 60% say when they do express thankfulness, they do it to make themselves feel good

Where is the one place people are least likely to express gratitude? WORK 

  • 74% of the 2000 respondents never or rarely show gratitude at work (for anything)
  • 70% want their boss to be thankful for them (even though they don’t express thanks)
  • 81% would work harder if they were thanked by their boss or company 

Based on this survey, that hardest circumstance to give thanks exists in and around the workplace. Isn’t that amazing? The place we spend the most waking hours (about 2,200 hours per year, about 110,000 hours in working lifespan) we aren’t thankful for.  Wow! 

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