How Great Teams Prioritize Goals


We were really bad ad prioritizing goals.

Years ago our property management company left a lot to be desired when it came to our ability to prioritize projects. We didn’t have an agenda for our strategic planning meetings. Embarrassingly sometimes our executive team would write our priorities down, and then lose the paper we wrote them on. We would talk about to-dos and not follow up. This lack of structure kept us amateur, and we struggled to move our business forward.

There came a point where we felt like we were on a hamster wheel and living in the movie Groundhog Day. Was this all there was to our business? Was this as far as we were going to get as professionals? Was more even possible for people like us?

And then, traction by Gino Wickman.

Then I read the book Traction by Gino Wickman and it changed everything. We realized that If we just followed the guidelines in the book we would become the mature adults we needed to be to run a company, and from that our business could reach its full potential. We went from floundering to focused. When we saw ourselves holding useful meetings and moving our goals forward, it gave us more confidence in ourselves. It opened our minds to more permutations of possibilities.

I recommend reading the book in its entirety, however, today is the first day of Q2 and in the interest of time and momentum, I will outline a few key points that helped us reach our quarterly goals consistently.

Define your priorities realistically: I have always had a habit of being overly optimistic with my goals, and when I have too many priorities I get overwhelmed. Additionally, when everything is a priority nothing is a priority. Traction helped me be realistic about what is actually possible in a quarter.

Wickman recommends each person on the executive team tackles 1 to 3 big priorities per quarter. Make these S.M.A.R.T. goals. Write them down. Break them into milestones. Put due dates on the milestones. Review them every week and state whether they are on or off track. Do not change your priorities throughout the quarter.

Have an agenda. Stick to it. Don’t let people go off on tangents. Hold people accountable to stay on task during the meeting. Save the lively discussion for the end of the meeting and then prioritize the discussion topics so you work through the important things first.

Measure what matters. Go over key metrics every meeting so you know where you stand and so does the entire executive team. Use these metrics to drive behavior.

Write down the To-Dos. and revisit every week to make sure they get accomplished. Make the due date for the next meeting. This is so simple, but so often doesn’t get done. It is the difference between a productive or wasteful meeting, a week where you get things done or a week where you spin your wheels.

Some level of shame is good. Create a culture where being prepared for these meetings is expected, and that not getting your tasks done is not acceptable. Accountability has to be a hallmark of your business for it to reach its full potential.

Make sure candor is part of your meeting. Unless you tackle the hard things about your business in these meetings there is no point in having them. Dig deep. You cannot change what you do not acknowledge, so if there are dysfunctional elements in your business address them (professionally of course). You’re wasting your time and that of your team if you don’t speak truthfully.

Have everyone rate the meeting when it is done, but don’t let them use 7, they have to make a choice. Was the meeting useful or a waste of time? Seven is a cop outnumber. Identify what could make the meetings more effective next time and do that.

Q2 2020 is upon us. What are you going to prioritize?

How are you going to transform your business?

If we keep our eye on our priorities we can move forward even when the world is in a chaotic moment. If we stay focused when others are distracted we can win the game. Having clear goals and effective meetings can be the difference between success and failure.