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Does Your Organization Know Your Priorities....?

By Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc. – 06/16/2023 Published in American Printer

You can have results or excuses, but not both”……Arnold Schwarzenegger


What’s most important here….?”

“How do you know if you had a good week…?”

“What do we celebrate…?”

“If you could change one thing, what would you change…?”

That’s a small sampling of Interview Questions I would ask when visiting a prospective client, or when starting-up a project.

As you can imagine, answers given by a dozen or more key personnel told me much about organizational values and priorities, organizational cohesion, and potential land mines needing attention.

To ignore these issues was to place almost any project - on a slippery slope. The larger the organization, the steeper the potential slippery slope.

Exercise in Priorities:

Dick Gorelick taught me a “Client Exercise” I still consider profound.

Get a list of the Top 10 Priorities from the client president, numbered 1 to 10 in terms of importance to the president. Question their order, 1 to 10 with him/her, to ensure the listing of 1 to 10 is solid in the president’s mind, and represents some “semblance of reality.”

Now scramble the order, and in a room with all senior management and supervisors, give them the list of scrambled priorities, asking them to number them 1 to 10, as they think their president would number them. (Everyone keeps their answer sheet.)

Then have the president reveal his list of priorities, one at a time, explaining why no. 1 is 1, no. 2 is 2, and so on.


This exercise is priceless – as an organizational reality check, and for communicating why decisions should be made, per the president’s priorities.

I never experienced anyone matching a president’s list of priorities – as he/she listed them.

Going forward, understandably there were fewer arguments, less wasted time and “gamesmanship,” and improved productivity and organizational execution.

This exercise also elevated the probable success of the Project I was to implement.

Generally speaking, implementing this exercise every six months - is not too often.

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”……Leo Tolstoy

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