The idea of Ruthless Priorities has been on my mind a lot recently.
Quick review: What I mean by Ruthless Priorities are those 1 or 2 things that in any moment you refuse to put at risk.
It doesn’t mean that you say no to everything else. It just means that you promise yourself to get your Ruthless Priorities done first and best.
And for all that other stuff, while you may still work on it, you might accept some delay or risk in the process, so that you don’t put your Ruthless Priorities at risk.
Ruthless Priorities and Career Advancement
I’ve been thinking about the specific link between Ruthless Priorities and career success this week because in my Executive Mentoring Group, this month’s topic is Stand Out, Get Promoted, and Ruthless Priorities is one of the key, stand-out skills that I cover in the program.
So why is it that Ruthless Priorities is a stand-out behavior that the best leaders and executives utilize?
1. It stands out because focusing on Ruthless Priorities lets you have more impact by getting the most important things done really well, and
2. It stands out because most people don’t do it — because it’s easier not to!
Here’s what I mean…
NOT focusing on Ruthless Priorites is easier for 2 reasons:
1. It takes time. Taking the time to decide what is truly most important and valuable takes work. And if you are too busy to even think, you don’t have time to choose.
It’s actually harder to figure out what’s truly important than it is to try to just keep doing everything.
2. Decisions are scary. Muscling through too much work is actually easier in some ways than committing to a decision. Decisions are scary. You might choose wrong.
It can feel safer to just try to do everything because then people will admire you for working so hard, and they can’t blame you for making a bad decision.
The hazard here of course is that you can’t actually do everything — and even if you try, you can’t do everything as well as you could do fewer things.
Successful people don’t do everything
The most successful people don’t even try to do everything. They choose. They get their Ruthless Priorites done, and they get famous for having a big impact because they are consistently finishing the most important things.
Trying to do everything puts you at a career disadvantage because:
1. You are splitting your energy and attention between so many things that you are not giving yourself a chance to excel on anything
2. You are staying too busy to ever think about and recognize what has the most impact so you are not delivering stand-out results
3. You are getting famous for working hard instead of for doing important things and adding value
The reward for staying busy on everything is more simply work — not a promotion.
If you want to Stand Out and Get Promoted, Ruthless Priorities is foundational — because you have to do extra stuff to Stand Out.
And if all of your time and energy and mental bandwidth is consumed with the activities of your current job, you won’t have time to do the things that will make you stand out and position yourself for a promotion.
Give yourself the chance to succeed (and feel more sane), (and feel more appreciated), (and feel less exhausted) by choosing and finishing Ruthless Priorities.
What do you think?
What do you think about these ideas? What would you add? Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page.
Was this useful?
If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.
Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor.
She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)