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Best Practices for Setting Priorities as a Team

There are times when it makes better sense to enable a team (or department, business unit, etc.) to set their priorities rather than to have the priorities set and pushed down by top leadership. It helps to create ownership and commitment to the direction the company is heading. In such situations, take these best practice steps to enable priority setting in a team environment:

  • Determine the overall goal for the effort. Is it to increase revenue by 10%? Is it to increase profitability by 15%? Is it to increase the customer base by 10 new customers? Is it to reduce costs by 15%? Share this information with all team members who will participate in the session on setting priorities toward reaching the goal.
  • As a team, determine where the group will need to focus to reach that goal. For example, if the goal is to increase revenue by 10% does the focus need to  be on creating new marketing channels, increase the customer base, developing new products and services, focusing on a different industry, etc?  Develop a list of areas of focus to reach the goal.
  • For each area in which you will focus, determine how effectively that area will enable the team to meet the overall goal, given a certain set of criteria (that is determined by the team as a whole), such as:
    • Supports strategic goals of company
    • Supports current customer service initiatives
    • Creates financial benefits
    • Is attainable given available budget, resources, expertise and time

You might ask the team members to evaluate each area of focus individually, and then share their thoughts with the rest of the team to come to agreement on where to focus.

In our example, you may determine that in order to increase revenue by 10% you will focus on 3 areas:

  • Launching 1 new product and 2 new services within the next year
  • Increasing product sales to current customers
  • Developing new marketing channels to reach new customers

…because these areas of focus will have the most impact toward helping to reach the overall goal of increasing revenue by 10%.

As a team, plan how you will proceed with these areas of focus. Who needs to be involved in the effort? What resources, support, budget, etc. is needed to be successful. Your goal is to create an implementation plan to move forward with the initiative of increasing revenue by 10%.

Such an effort enables for many benefits to the company and individuals, including (to name just a few):

  • Increased employee engagement
  • Commitment to the growth of the company
  • Feeling valued as an employee
  • New and innovative ideas for reaching the goal

It takes a strong facilitator to keep the team on track and moving forward; undoubtedly there will be disagreements and strong opinions.

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