Priority Filter and Consequences
Daily, if not hourly, we’re intentionally and sometimes unintentionally making priority decisions related to work projects. So, in an effort to provide “practical takeaways for everyday church leadership” I thought I’d provide some of the filters I (try to) use.
4 Priority Filter Questions on deciding on which work
- Related to my work, is this a must do? Litmus test: If I don’t do this work, I lose my job. Or things break. Or at a minimum I keep people from doing their jobs. If these could be true, the work is a “must do” and should remain a high priority.
- Am I called or convicted by God to do this? You could respond “no” to question one, and yet “yes” to question two which makes it a must do. For those who follow Jesus, and for those whose work involves church leadership, your priorities may not make sense outside of a spiritual realm. Yet, if we’re called to do something or convicted, then it should be our highest priority.
- What’s the collateral damage if this is delayed? You may determine from question one it’s not a “must do,” that things aren’t going to break because it’s not done. Yet, a thoughtful effort of considering what will happen if it’s delayed may reveal its priority. As a leader one of our jobs is to make value judgments. In leadership, your priorities create or bog down others’ priorities pathways. Probably once a week I will ask someone I work with, “If X doesn’t happen, what’s the collateral damage to you or your team?”
- Is this really still important to me? My wiring is such that I like to finish things. If I set a goal, I really want to complete it. Yet things change. And what was important to me six months ago when I was planning my work goals may no longer be important (to me or my church). You’ve got to give yourself freedom to abandon goals when in light of current circumstances they no longer merit your highest attention. What’s one thing you’re plodding away on that really made sense even two months ago, but now you should really just “cut bait” and move to the next priority?
Consequences of Unintentional Prioritization
- You’ll work really hard, but not move the needle – you’ll fill up your work time with non-strategic work.
- You’ll be the poster child for being the “tyranny of the urgent guy/gal.” You’ll move from project to project and only do what you “feel” up to (or even worse, what someone else feels for you).
- You’ll do others’ bidding but not what you’re uniquely equipped to do (or even compensated to do).
Whether you wrestle down your projects, let them slide, or jettison them, be thoughtful about how you make those decisions