On Leadership and Organizational Priorities

Priorities

The rapid pace of technology advancement and change, coupled with the continuous roll-out of new tools, enables organizations to deliver state-of-the art products and services faster than ever. This offers unprecedented convenience to clients and customers around the globe.

With access to do some many great things in your organization and industry, at times, there can be too much that you and your leadership team may want to take on.

Changing Organizational Priorities

From an organizational perspective, the ever-changing landscape of technology gently nudges and forces leaders to fast-forward change management efforts in their organizations.

It also forces them to establish new organizational priorities.

As leadership in your organization analyzes a shift in priorities or in adopting new priorities, it is critical that you as a leader ensure that there is a load balance between current business/products/services and any new opportunities.  Keep in mind that your current business and customers are what is keeping your organization afloat and is fueling the investment for new opportunities, as well as reinvestment in current products. So changes in priorities must be smart.

Knowing Your Markets

In establishing or categorizing new priorities, rule #1 becomes know your markets.  Your organization should ideally implement continuous ways to monitor business intelligence, whether it is in the form of human resources, other tools or a combination of them all.

Along with this concept, keep in mind Porter’s Five Forces.  This may sound like “Marketing 101,” but with so much technology available and the rapid pace of change, the threat of new entrants or products into your industry is more imminent than it was five to ten years ago.

At the end of the day and as leaders, it is best that your organization is proactive and not reactive to competitive forces.

Your Strategic Plan

If one does not already exist, it is imperative that you develop a multi-year strategic plan.  The length and breadth of this plan may vary depending on your industry and time to market, competitive forces, etc.  If your organization does not have a multi-year strategic plan, closely monitor the lifecycle of your products and services (new and existing).

As your leadership and management team review the lifecycle of different products and services, make decisions based on data as to whether a product or service should be retired or remain on the market.  Also, keep your current product lines fresh to your customers by introducing something new annually, even if it is something as simple as a minor enhancement or rolling out a new advertising campaign.

Avoiding Muddy Waters

Avoid the bog down of internal politics.  Different units are going to have reasons for arguing that one project or priority is more important than the others.

As a leader, it is critical that you stand your ground.

Letting the web of internal politics muddy the waters will only prove harmful to your organization and will enable a competitor to become the front-runner for a new product or service.

Most importantly and as part of any change management effort, as a leader engage your employees in the development and establishment of organizational priorities.  Make your employees feel as though they are partners, not cogs in the wheel.

Synergy is better than my way or your way.  It’s our way.”  ~ Stephen Covey

Listen To Your Customers

Lastly, listen to your customers.  Your customers are your most important resource for feedback.  Ensure that your organization has structured feedback venues for customers, whether it is in the form of online surveys, focus groups, etc. And most importantly, continue to lead with passion and vision.

Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”  ~ Jack Welch

So what best practices does your organization have in place to manage establish and manage organizational priorities? How do you as a leader handle rapid market demand for multiple new products and services? What challenges do you face in keeping the good while continuing to improve?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

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———————–
Marie Maher, MBA

Marie Maher is Director of Operations Analysis at The College Board
She manages projects and new operational initiatives for testing programs
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Skype: Marm69

Image Source: ruralministry.files.wordpress.com

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